Recently I was thinking about my kids. No, I do not currently have kids, nor do I plan on having kids until I am at least 36 (because I need my 18 years back). But I was thinking about how I would be as a father, and I started to spiral into this deep worry that I was going to be a mediocre dad at best. I was concerned about how well I would nurture my child(ren), but I began to think about it more and more and that is when I realized this future mini-me isn’t just my child, but before that they are ‘my child’, they are a soul. The soul is who they are first, and I will be raising this soul, thus making me a father, not the other way around. The same can be applied when looking at social identities and privilege.
My soul has intertwined with the fact that I am Black, a cis man, bisexual, and a bunch of other facets of my identity. But also, I have to be aware that many souls that intertwine with very different identities, and those identities affect their individual souls. And in American society (a mass collection of souls) has created a culture that benefits and/or detriments collections of souls simply due to their shared identities. But in my book most every soul is deserving of unconditional love regardless of their social identity, because I’d rather judge someone based on their heart and not their form.
I am going to be the last person who says they do not see class, or race, or gender, or ability, or sexuality or any other social identities. Our social identities aid us in perceiving and reacting with reality. This has led me to better understand my own privileges. I am not only a man, but a cis one. I am able bodied enough that I have relative ease with ‘conventional’ life and there are many other privileges that I ought to consider. So yes, being aware of my privilege is a good place to start, but where do we go on from that? Well, after I addressed my reality, I had to look back at all of the times in recent memory or mentally bookmarked times that my privilege was at the expense of someone else. I had to accept that as reality well and accept the wrong that I may have done, so that I could have peace and know how to do better by souls without privileged social identities.
This isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, and it is nowhere close to being linear. There are certainly times where I drop the ball, but I have to accept that I dropped the ball, so I can pick it back up. Before my strive for intentionality, I may have dropped the ball and even kicked at times (which is the last thing I would recommend). But when I started being more intentional, my soul began to appreciate others on a much deeper level because I am not consciously objectifying people based on their respective identities. Understanding my own privilege helps me be able to recognize marginalized peoples although I may not thoroughly understand their experience. And if I am going to be a good dad by 2035 (at the earliest), then better understand my damn privilege.