Are you really discriminated against "everywhere?"
I enjoy certain advantages at the moment. I achieved those advantages by being given the opportunity to improve myself and prove that I was able to accomplish what I set out to do. In that respect, I am less discriminated against than others who aren't even allowed those opportunities. However, I will give you a few minor examples of discrimination against me. WARNING: You may choose to interpret the following as a sob story. Whatever your interpretation, it's what really happened to me. If you aren't inclined to listen in the first place, feel free to skip to the end.
My family was not affluent by any stretch of the imagination. We didn't have an extra car, we didn't have enough space, and in general we got by. We weren't at poverty level, but we certainly didn't have a lot of extra cash lying around. So when it came time for college, it was beholden to me to find my own way. And the more I looked, the more I discovered that there weren't many organizations looking to give handouts to single white males whose families made above a certain income level. Not the government, not private organizations, not nobody. I qualified for some scholarships, but not nearly enough to contemplate paying for school. So I found a job and attempted to work and study at the same time. This works for many people; it didn't work for me. I ended up dropping out of college to focus on just making a living for a time. It's entirely possible that there were grants and loans available to me that I simply overlooked. All I can tell you is that I didn't find them.
Out in the real world, I attempted to capitalize on what skills I knew I had. I discovered that your basic office secretary doesn't make much above a subsistance level, and I was certainly not going to save up for college this way. I bounced up and down below the poverty level, not having access to certain fundamental requirements of the area like a running vehicle or reliable public transportation. I pawned a large portion of my personal effects to pay for food or utilities and got seriously behind in rent several times, though the kind landlord allowed me to catch up (which I did). I did a lot of temp work, but couldn't hold down a permanent job due to my lack of personal transportation (you have to understand Denver at the time). I looked around for assistance programs but I simply didn't qualify: I'm not a recognized minority, and again I made just a little too much money. The fact that this money frequently disappeared through unexpected expenses like repairs or medical bills just wasn't their concern.
I shifted gears slightly and attempted to focus on the tech industry, which I had always thought I was not qualified for. As it turns out, I was wrong. I began to flourish, though the years I'd spent in near-poverty accumulating debt took a long time to recover. The more I learned the more confident I became, and I began to stretch out and push for better opportunities to hasten my climb out of debt. On several of those occasions, I was rejected in favor of someone else. Several of *those* rejections were not based on ability; I got the opportunity to work with the winners and I verified that their knowledge and experience were inferior to mine, their qualification was racially based.
I could have made an issue out of it. I could have tried to take it to court and sue for reverse discrimination. I chose not to; I wanted to succeed on my own merits, not due to some legal loophole or complaint that the world isn't fair. It isn't; I take what I get and I work with it.
Finally, my perseverence paid off. I managed to step into a position that further allowed me to springboard into better and better opportunities until, finally, I'm at a comfortable level where I don't have to cringe when I consider purchasing a new video or music CD for myself. I faced some rather hefty and discouraging odds and disadvantages, and I kept pushing until I'd reached a comfortable level that is self-sustaining. You'd better believe I appreciate it.
It's called the school of hard knocks. It teaches that the Chinese doll that goes underwater seven times will still come back up the eighth. It means I've been there, even if it wasn't for the same reasons everyone else has. It means I can sympathize without coddling. And it means I've found a balance that works for me, and it does not include jumping on the bandwagon everyone else says I should. I'm quite comfortable with that.
...don't rock the boat, I don't want to hear about it, just let everything be, it's always been this way, after all.
You may want to go back and note that I did not say this, or even imply this. I said I don't care, and I admitted that wasn't exactly polite. I did not say that these complaints were unfounded or to be dismissed. What I did say is that the key is not grandstanding, barnstorming and soapbox preaching. The key is education. My gay friend tolerates me because he and I are capable of discussing issues rationally, intelligently and respectfully. What we disagree on, we agree to disagree without discounting. What we agree on, we hash out and dissect so that we understand the fundamentals of why we agree. When I bring him an issue that I'm passionate about, he listens and passes it on to his friends. When he brings me an issue, I listen and pass it on to my friends. We don't ignore each other's issues, we simply don't expect each other to hop on the bus and join the next march over it.
Because we don't have to care. It's enough that we care about each other, and our friendship is strong enough that we can respect each other without getting caught up in each other's holy quests. And that makes all the difference.
"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan
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