Be aware of your own privilege

January 07 2014

The second-worst kind of Listserve email is the kind that only talks about the Listserve, but I'd rather get a little meta than compose the worst kind of Listserve email. You know the one: the samey, glib personal advice column that's some variation on "Eat, Pray, Code," composed just before or after selling all one's possessions in order to backpack through Europe / go to college / deliver a TED talk.

All of these emails have something in common, which pushes me to send along my tiny sliver of advice:


I'm a well-off white male who can afford to live in one of the greatest places in the world and hold down a steady, semi-inspiring job. Moneyed itinerancy, grad school and motivational speaking aren't for me, but they're all within reach.

Since the Listserve flock is self-selected, it makes sense that most of you would share at least some of the same privilege. Just do me a favor: step back for a second and recognize what you have. Then realize how it informs your everyday interactions with the people you meet, and for god's sake, do something constructive with it.

Maybe instead of sharing the same personal advice columns or superficial first-day-of-summer-camp facts about yourself, do a little soul-searching -- the kind that doesn't involve 'Chicken Soup,' you know? Then report back with what you've learned.

I'd take my own advice but I think I'm over the word count...

(shouts to Lily and Maura)

[email protected]
Los Angeles

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