Excuse Me, Your Privilege is Showing
Complete silence filled the atmosphere in a non-awkward way. I stood still, thinking of ways to fill the days ahead of me. So deep into those thoughts that I briefly stood unaware of compromise to the stark silence.
The compromising specimen was in her mid-thirties, approximately five feet, with long black hair and tanned skin. Her eyes were dark brown in color, oval in shape, and doe-like. She was small, with a slight bend in her back that made her appear almost timid, but her commitment to talking made up for the bashful countenance. She talked a lot – too much, even. Her voice was a high pitch, yet steady. She did not hesitate when she spoke. Matter-of-fact, she withheld no words and spewed them out with assertion. Most days, I ignored her, but today, since she did interrupt my thoughts, I decided to listen.
“My babies have never drunk processed milk,” she began.
“I breastfed them for as long as I can remember.”
“I don’t feed them processed foods or sugar or juice.”
“I fresh press all their food."
" I mean, Similac is the worst thing you could feed your babies.”
She went on about Similac and how she was surprised moms even buy that stuff. She furthered her monologue by asserting that she grows this and that, in her garden, at her house. Then she bragged for the umpteenth time that her husband is from Jamaica – as if that qualified her to speak indignantly.
I sat there, listening, uninterested in her opinion, yet wondering if she was aware that not everyone had access to breastmilk or a fresh garden with gluten-free, process-free, chemical-free, luxurious life-filled ingredients.
That was a privilege.
A privilege the government did not award mothers who receive WIC vouchers or any form of government assistance.
A privilege not granted to people pressed for resources.
A privilege that a lot of people do not have access to.
What if I were a mom who fed her kids Similac? I thought as she spoke.
She looked at me for reassurance to the nonsense she was saying. I looked back.
“Excuse me, your privilege is showing.” That’s what I wanted to say in response.
Instead, I smiled sarcastically and said, "Not everyone is afforded that privilege.”
Her mouth started moving in what was likely an ignorant rebuttal. But I tuned it out and reverted to my thoughts. Yet, this time I did not continue filling the days ahead with mindless tasks, but rather, I contemplated privilege in its entirety.
Is my privilege showing?