Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Privileged Are You?

(Via Dark Orpheus and Imani)

The original authors of this exercise are Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, and Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Bold the true statements. You can explain further if you wish.

1. Father went to college
Valedictorian of his high school class, my dad won a scholarship to Wake Forest University. But since my grandmother had recently died (my grandfather had never returned from a trip into town to sell a load of logs when my dad was three), he wound up going into the machine shop business with two of his older brothers instead.
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
My mother dropped out of high school at 17 to marry my dad
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
First, second, and third cousins
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
I don't think so, but I never counted
9. Were read children’s books by a parent
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
Guitar, art, ceramics were the ones I liked
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
Since when are people with hillbilly accents portrayed positively?
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
For one week one summer. Went to tons of vacation bible school, though.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Motels or relatives' homes.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
Two, actually. A used Ford Pinto so that I could drive myself to band practice and then a Datsun 310 as a graduation/Christmas/wedding present
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
From the age of 9.5 until high school, when I had to share with a cousin
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Flew back from Washington, D.C., with my grandfather one summer
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
No, but I went to horse shows, cattle auctions, the Daniel Boone wagon train, and weekly bingo night at the fire station with my dad.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family


  1. Exercises like this can be revealing, but John Scalzi had what I thought was a good take on this particular version. The comments seem endless, but there are some worthwhile observations there.

  2. Thanks for that! I doubt I'll make it through all those comments, but Scalzi made lots of good points.

  3. "my grandfather had never returned from a trip into town to sell a load of logs when my dad was three"

    Now *that* sounds like an interesting Faulknerian tale. Was there a mule involved?

  4. More than likely. It ~was~ during the Depression.

    Tell me about Iodine. Is it HK's best work so far, do you think?

  5. It is *very* different from her other work, but there is continuity of place and aesthetic, so it will seem familiar, but also darker. Difficult to describe....

    The literary scene here is pretty non-existent - no readings or author tours unless you go to Chicago - but we did sit next to Richard Powers at lunch a couple of weeks ago.

  6. Well, that's cool. Did you talk to him or did he not seem approachable?

  7. He definitely seemed approachable and friendly, but was with a couple of his students, so we decided to not interrupt their discussion.

    I picked up a nice stack at the Urbana Free Library book sale yesterday, including an almost mint 1959 hardback of Faulkner's The Mansion.


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.