Checking My Privilege
The other day I took a quiz from Buzzfeed to test out the amount of privilege I have. The test consisted of sentences like “I never considered myself poor” or “I don’t have to worry about student debt”. If the sentence pertained to you, you checked the checkmark. The more checkmarks you have, the more privileged you were.
There were a couple of instances were I didn’t know if I could check it or not. One of the them was like I never experienced abuse as a child. I wasn’t constantly fearing that I would get my ass beat, but there were time when my dad step the line from discipline to child abuse. It happened twice with me, a couple of more time with my two older siblings. I remember those times very vividly too.
The first time was when I was in fourth grade. I had just came from school and my dad made me and my younger sister go do our homework in the kitchen. After, my dad told us to go to our room. When my dad said something you did it; no questions asked. When we were in our room, I heard a noise coming from the backyard. We had recently got a dog and I knew something was up with him, so I went to check up on him. Bodoke, my dog, had gotten loose, so I went to tie him back up. When I was putting on my dog’s collar, my dad had gone to the backyard and immediately rushed at me. From there, I remember my dad yelling and beating me. I hit the ground, but my dad continued to hit. Then it all kind of went blank but I remember crying and begging my dad to stop. Later that day, my dad laughed in my face about the fact that he beat me and even mocked me by saying, “ Te di tu buena chinga, verda,” or I gave you a good ass beating today huh?
The second time was later on that year, coming home from kentucky fried chicken. After spending a day as a family, we went to KFC to get dinner. We always order to go. When we got home, everyone went inside, but I went to my backyard to go greet my dog. After saying hello to bodoke, I tried to go inside, but the back door to my house was locked. I went to try the front door, but that was also locked. I returned to my backyard and knocked. My dad opened the door. He pulled me inside and dragged me to my room. He yelled at me about knocking on the door and started to beat me. After getting a couple of good hits in, my mom came into the room and stopped him. Unlike last time, my mom was there to the rescue.
I began to hold a lot of resentment towards my dad, but after years of not beating me and occasionally buying me what I want, I stopped thinking about it. He is still very aggressive and can be verbally abusive, but he never laid a hand on me again. My siblings, that a slightly different story. I know that I have experienced some child abuse, but could I really consider myself impacted by it? I don’t know if I can really check the checkmark. I am luckier than most kids. I didn’t get beat regularly, I didn’t fear for my life. For the longest, I even felt like I had to justify my thinking on how what I experienced was really child abuse. When I would tell my aunts and uncles about how my dad beat me for no reason, they often responded that I had to obviously do something to provoke my dad and that it can’t be that I really did nothing to deserve it. So, while I did get my ass beat without justification, can I really say that I was abused? I really don’t know and that scares me.