I'm going to try and create a post here that is cobbled together from an email conversation I had with a friend. I thought some of the points raised were really key to this discussion.
i liked your comments on my comment. i think you took my comment about the privelge of travel/going to brazil the wrong way. i sort of said it off the cuff, quickly thinking of things that seemed like privilege in my life/your life our life. i get the differences between staying connected with a family and (your comparison) going to private school.
but, i am kind of glad that i didn't edit it out (like put in "luxury car" instead of "travel") because of this: i think it is great that you got it "out there" for anyone who is reading the blog to help forward the understanding of traveling as a part of privelge and traveling to stay
connected to your family. i also wonder (it is too bad that more people don't read this blog) about people who think that, for instance, "how does RK (one of the engineers at b's job - i don't know how to spell his name) afford to go to india for 2 months a year? b overhears complaints about that. of course no one would ever actually have a conversation with him about it - to further their understanding and make a connection with him. (of course b has conversations with him about it because of their shared love of food, but really that is the extent of it). ok stay with me on this one....which makes me think about how it is white people's responsibility to educate other white people. wow. that was a stream of consciousness......more streams. regarding private school. i will never in a million years take my kids out of lake country. we will only take them out when they kick us out for nonpayment. i am pretty ok with the luxury of my privilege. which is not to mean that i am not owning it, it means that i can understand how, for instance taking my kids presence out of public school probably has a ripple effect on someone somewhere (although our dollars aren't taken out and shouldn't be), but that isn't enough for me to remove them. i recognize that that is privilege and, well, i am choosing to live with the discomfort. even though....and i should be... but am not..... ( and god i wish i was saying this in person so you know that i am not as callous as i sound) that discomforted by it.
It's interesting - I think that a lot of if not most white folks who are progressive do have some shame about being white. I think it's more common that uncommon - or if not shame, then certainly guilt. I think it's a hard one, I wouldn't say I'm proud of being white, I would say that white is the neutral zone and to give it too much energy - shame, guilt, pride - is to move out of the work we have to do. For me, all of this is about a context and a systemic whole. White has intensity only because white privilege is propped up against and involved with the creation of racism. Try and undermine white privilege or separate white - a neutral state that doesn't exist any more than "of color" exists - from white privilege, and you are working for change. But what does that look like in the practical sense, right?