You Don’t Know My Story…

“You don’t know my story!”

Commonly shouted by the Left whenever someone tries to contradict “their truth” with factual evidence and common sense. When minorities, women, LGBT people, immigrants, religious minorities (a.k.a Muslims), etc… say that, they want to tell you that you have no idea what struggles they faced. On the surface, it makes some sense. Often, a person’s struggles are not as obvious as one would ever guess. Barring a physical disability or witnessing outright bigotry, many of our life challenges remain hidden to others unless they have an intimate look at your situation. Often, white people and men, or any “majority” group are accused of being blind to others’ challenges and any contradiction to them is taken as insensitive and callous.

Even in the face of statistical facts and common sense, apparently it’s callous to point out that the reality may not always be your reality. Another important point to note here is it is indeed very plausible that the individual has actually had a negative experience in their life or has known a disproportionate amount of people who have and genuinely thinks that’s the wider reality while in truth, they or their friends were the exception. When such a discrepancy is pointed out, cries of “you’re blinded by your privilege!” come up. We’re supposed to take them at face value and simply shut up and nod our heads in agreement upon their edict that they in fact, know the REAL truth!

But do they know the whole truth? After all, there’s always at least two sides to a story 😉 Many on the Left want the so called “privileged” to acknowlege their invisible struggles, but what about ours??? You are completely delusional if you think anyone’s life is 100% pure bliss, no struggles whatsoever or the lives of their families are! Do you honestly think that because of a white man’s skin color or gender he’s on easy street? Or the heterosexual couple is in marital bliss with no angry in-laws who won’t accept their spouse? Or the Christian doesn’t feel judged at times by others for his/her faith too with their own nasty stereotypes of being intolerant fundies?

Well, if you were, let me give you an example of how looks can go only skin deep, and the assumptions that go with them:

Like many in America, I have immigrant relatives on both sides of my family who came here to make a better life for themselves. Now take my grandmother for instance. To a stranger who just happened to see her as she was running some errands, she looks like a privileged white woman. Typical. Probably grew up in some nice middle class house in a safe neighborhood with a provider husband. Had a family who through their race built up wealth based off centuries of oppressing minorities and the indigenous population. Always had security and comfort, never lifting a finger to rise to any major challenge. Was probably that privileged suburban housewife of the 50’s who goes to the women’s club and complains about how the neighborhood is being taken over by those who don’t look like her. Never once knew what it was like to face the bigotry minorities have.

Now, the part about the comfortable house, wonderful husband and safe neighborhood are true. However the rest would be a lie! Her parents literally came to the country with NOTHING. Her dad was a refugee fleeing violence and genocide and her mother fleeing inescapable poverty in her home country. They had no time whatsoever to gain any of the “wealth” white families allegedly have gained through decades of oppression. She was barely in the middle class growing up and as a married woman, married a blue collar guy and had to work herself cleaning houses to help her family. She cherished her domestic life, but was no privileged housewife who could live solely off her husband’s income. Her husband was of a similar background growing up in the depression unable to afford luxuries like Christmas and birthdays. As for never having any adversity herself, she was bullied for her ethnicity so badly in school she dropped out of high school due to the vitriol of her classmates AND teachers! Imagine a person of color today sharing a similar story. How appalled would you be to hear that? Almost forgot, her neighborhood gave her family the stink eye for not being Irish in an Irish neighborhood, so don’t tell me she never felt what it was like to not belong! That’s probably why she is so adamantly anti-racist herself…

Do you know why she did live in a nice neighborhood in a nice house though? Her family WORKED HARD and gave everything to give her a better life than the previous generation. She married a man who worked for everything they owned including her nice house in that safe neighborhood. And she carried that legacy of resilience and being a victor instead of a victim demanding handouts to her children, one being my dad. Because of her and her family’s perseverance, my dad and his sister got to go to college and get professional careers. Thus trickling down to me being even more privileged than they. My mother’s side has similar stories of building that family legacy of success and prosperity from almost nothing as well further contributing to what I have today.

I guess in a sense you’d be right if you assumed my grandmother was privileged. She had a wonderful husband of over 50 years, raised two children in a nice household and lived off the success her parents enabled her to have. But that’s FAR from her whole story which also included much adversity and prejudice and a family which came from adversity and poverty. Just looking at her skin color tells you nothing about where she came from and what she’s had to face in her life of almost a century.

I can anticipate some of the naysayer’s responses and I’ll answer with my family’s immigrant story is not inconsequential just because they were white! My relatives on both sides of my family have faced adversity and prejudice, my grandmother being just one example. Their whiteness did nothing to help them gain their prosperity, their actual effort to better their lives did. I challenge you to find one example of how the prejudice your family faced due to their skin color is more “important” than what my family and countless other “privileged” white families have! My grandma had the “privilege” of:

The student body bullying her into dropping out of school for her ethnicity

Her family being shunned in an all Irish neighborhood simply for not being Irish

Both parents coming from poverty and devastation in their homelands

Losing her sister young and a brother disabled by a brain tumor

Being slammed violently into a desk by a teacher who treated her in a biased manner for being different among others….

So, if you see her being helped by a gentleman to carry her things or people looking out for her, don’t automatically assume she was always treated like royalty, or she never had to lift a finger in her life. Don’t think because of her skin color, she had everything given to her and lived a life based off the exploitation of others. Don’t look at her neighborhood or her house and think “her kind” have been there for generations basking in their privilege. And don’t think, most importantly, that her skin color somehow minimizes the pain and adversity she went through compared to what you or your family went through!

I don’t know your story as a minority group or person of color. I can’t say I can automatically know all your struggles or have been exposed to every type of adversity you have. But you also don’t know my story, where I came from, and my family’s legacy from just looking at me. You can’t assume any privilege or lack of it just by eyeballing me for 20 seconds on the street. You also can’t assume that even if someone has “privilege” related to race or gender for example, they don’t have other personal struggles they must overcome like mental illness, crushing anxiety/self doubts and insecurity, chronic conditions, family tragedies, deep personal loss, obstacles due to poverty, etc… So, if you want the courtesy of me acknowledging your story, please stick around to listen to mine before you cast judgement. Until then, when you say my family and I have “privilege” we didn’t earn or deserve:

You don’t know my story!

Related image
Yes, even white men too 😉 !!!

Do you have a story others don’t know that helped shape who you are? Please share in the comments! 🙂

26 thoughts on “You Don’t Know My Story…

  1. You don’t know my story!

    Commonly shouted by the Left whenever someone tries to contradict “their truth” with factual evidence and common sense.

    I disagree. I hear exactly those words from all sorts of human beings, Earthlings. In other words LoR, all sorts of people like YOU and me. 🙂 One of my own personal approaches to sensitive or volatile situations/stories is that I want to not only sympathize with a person’s plight/struggle, but I want to also empathize and UNDERSTAND their background, plight, and current emotional-mental state of mind. This requires a LOT of open-ended questions and even MORE LISTENING! Then I often use more open-ended questions in order to get better clarification, if needed.

    This method of approach is actually quite successful, quite disarming of any rigid defenses erected and more a posture of equals, a forming of a TEAM with common goals. This is a technique I was taught while in grad school in Psych/A&D therapy and working/interning at a Psych/A&D hospital’s Intake or Needs Assessment office, a type of ER but for a mental-health hospital.

    The very LAST thing we’d ever want to do with a person/family in crisis was seek out all those hot-point differences and portraying a posture of elitism or superiority! In the end, when all things wash out… we are ALL still human beings from planet Earth. Hahahaha. Period. End of story.

    …say that, they want to tell you that you have no idea what struggles they faced.

    This applies to every single stranger encountering another stranger. The commonality between the two strangers? They are BOTH very human! At risk of stating the obvious (which I want to demarcate here) they are both Earthlings living on the same planet! What often MIGHT distinguish them is how they treat others with dignity and decency. 🙂 And sometimes that demands highly skilled, experienced tactful language, lots of respectful questions, lots of LISTENING, and ingenious compromise with those different than you! Granted, those four techniques must be learned over and over in many diverse circumstances — i.e. not just within ‘your own reality’ as you appropriately put it LoR. This (hard?) “work” is always a two-way street, PERIOD! Sometimes it will require YOU to put forth more effort and patience than your counterpart. But it is SO worth it… as a decent human being! 🙂

    Even in the face of statistical facts and common sense, apparently it’s callous to point out that the reality may not always be your reality.

    Eh, maybe. Maybe not.

    TIMING is key here. IOW, when you broach this subject with a person once you’ve established an appropriate rapport with them, then you can both test each other’s realities, see if BOTH OF THEM are valid, or partially valid, or better as one not two. 😉

    Eeeeeeck. As I browsed further into your blog-post I saw a LOT of “they” and “Left” and other hardline demarcations so I skipped some of those paragraphs. HOWEVER, I did somewhat like this:

    So, if you want the courtesy of me acknowledging your story, please stick around to listen to mine before you cast judgement.

    But the issue with its posture is that it is STILL conditional, perhaps even demanding another to compromise first or conceed first. In my many years of experience around the globe, in Psych/A&D crises and treatment, and within the dynamics of TEAMWORK, your posture is not well-suited for inclusion, progress, and Magna Cum Laude success. 😉

    Hope all has been well with you LoR! Do take care Ma’am. ❤

    Dwain/Professor Taboo

    Like

    • To clarify, my point here is to point out the discrepancy in one side demanding they be heard yet shutting down others when they want to tell their story. I agree EVERYONE deserves to be heard and acknowleged and treated with compassion as humans period. The issue is, don’t dismiss me and people like me yet demand you be heard… (not you personally Prof. T!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What they fail to realize because of their self-absorbed-narcissism is that they share this planet with billions of people!? smh and what gives them the idea that majority groups as labeled by minority groups and “white people,” have no valid struggles? Have never faced racism. They are in denial at best, and narcissism at worst!
    Even tho I was born just about a pure “wasp,” by race, we were working to poor. I was ostracized growing up by affluent white families, bullied by black and latinos, my brother was beat up because he was hanging out with friends at an “Italian” park, my friends mother said I was nice but I wasn’t “Chinese,” well, lady this aint’ china so…and so on..
    My father had to stop working early on because he had hodgkins lymphoma; twice. then heart failure. My mom cleaned houses and then eventually became a home-care attendant. Yeah, we were rolling in greenbacks! lol! NOT.
    I recently read a tweet by a person of color that “white privilege” had nothing to do with money, even tho people of color moan about equal opportunity and all that jazz. That it was about being given “the benefit of a doubt.” I guess kinda like the benefit of a doubt we’re not given not to be assumed racists because we’re white!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad all the replies thus far (that I read anyway) seem to be positive, Nice change from the heated rhetoric of the replies to “this is not who we are”. 🙂

    I’ve got a similar history to Lady of Reason. My ancestors were driven off of their land by Scottish nobles who wanted it for sheep farming when the price of wool went insane. The “Highland Cullings” (now relabeled the highland clearings by the PC crowd) were fairly widespread too. My ancestors came to America, got treated like garbage by the folks in the Northeast, and migrated further with nothing at all.

    Sadly, this is an argument that isn’t winnable with some folks. They have leaders that twist legitimate issues into something even worse, and then lie and tell their followers that they have no power to change anything in their life. At least not without them. When you’ve been told you’ll never be anything other than a victim for 50+ years instead of “you’re as smart and capable as anyone else”, that’s what you’re going to believe.

    Yes, there are legitimate issues of discrimination, etc… out there that need to be addressed. Overplaying the victim card only ultimately undermines the cause using it and prevents legitimate instances from being taken with proper seriousness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good post. I agree with you and with the people who have commented thus far. As you point out, when someone says “You don’t know my story” they overlook that it works both ways. If I don’t know their story it implies that they don’t know mine, or anyone else’s either. We all have our stories, the real question is what we ourselves have done to improve things. You can compete in the sympathy Olympics for the title of the one who suffered the most, but you’ll do better to do as your grandmother did, overcome adversity with hard work and perseverance. Around the world, the people who are preoccupied with their misfortunes and depend on handouts and government programs just become dependent. Those who take control over their lives through hard work, thrift and education are the ones who succeed in life. Your grandmother is one of the latter and they are the real heros because they are the ones who make the world a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We’re all victims of one thing or another. I think it must be that we are all victims of life. My generic response would be this: the best way around tough or unfair times is to play the hand you’re dealt. There is no use whining because no one likes a whiner. I would also offer this: in every instance, no matter what hand you’re dealt, there is always positive outcome. It may not manifest itself immediately, and quite often it is up to the individual to seek it out. People have been making silk purses from sow’s ears for thousands of years. Pick yourself up out of a mud puddle, dust yourself off, and try again. Now —if someone can’t do that, okay … sit home and be miserable, hang out with losers to reinforce your negativity, start drinking to excess, make frequent calls to the suicide prevention hotline, join the Democratic Party, or blame everyone else for your situation. Just don’t try to drag me into your misery. I don’t have time for it; I’m too busy having fun.

    And THIS was a very good post! Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I would have more claim to being a victim under the Russian czars since I am less removed through generation count than the black slaves. But since Putin would never apologize for the past of his country I will have to go on.

    I am just pointing out most people that moved to the new world were fleeing some form of persecution.

    Added to this the irony of how the current African descendants in America are free and those still in Africa are trying to enter Canada and the US illegally.

    So yes in their case ancestor’s were harmed but they are likely fortunate to be here now.

    The history of civilisation is of people being wronged, obliterated and at war. Only recent times give us the impression of stable lives

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I commend your grandmother. My grandmother had a somewhat similar story, but she was the one who took the reigns to her own life. She came from an abusive family and unfortunately ended up marrying young to an abusive man who kept her home (my grandfather did not believe in higher education for women and forbade her from going to college), barefoot, and pregnant. After their 6th baby, she said enough was enough. She walked out with her children, got a job, got a degree, then a PhD, and went on to become a professor at a university. She put all her children single handedly through college (and one through med school). My grandfather died a lonely, sexist drunk and my grandmother is now on a 4 month cruise around the world. Nothing speaks more about success than that of one earned with hard work, determination, ambition, and strength.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I like to think so as well. She gets hate from both sides of the spectrum. The left calls her ‘privileged’ for the color of her skin (nevermind her struggles) and think she had it easy. The right says she’s “trying to be a man” because she didn’t conform to the one subservient house-bound role they have in mind for women. If it were up to both, she’d never would have made it as far as she did. That’s the beauty of this country. You can say to hell with what others expect of you and make your own destiny.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember my dad telling me stories of his experiences during WWII. I knew he’d been sent to a farm in Germany, and got passed around from farm to farm, between the patriarch of the family and his sons. When butchering a cow, he demonstrated to me how he would sneak food by scraping the knife against the grain of the meat, accumulating a pulp on the blade, then quickly swiping it off with a finger and eating it. He told me about sneaking a drink while milking cows, and sneaking out at night to the orchard to find apples to eat. All things he would have been severely punished for, if caught. He described how he was treated (comparatively well, with the family he was assigned to, but the bar for that is really low), and how thankful he was to have been sent to a farm, where he knew he could steal food if they decided not to feed him. Unlike the factories, where people were dropping dead on the factory floor due to starvation – or being killed by allied bombs. I had some confusion about what he was telling me. Was he a prisoner? A captive? What? So I finally asked him what, exactly, he was. My dad took a moment to think about it and said, well… I was a slave.

    I would later learn that he and a buddy were able to get sent to farms because his buddy had some valuables he used to bribe an official. He and his friends had been forced to walk for miles to a train station. He was barefoot, and remembers it was the most pain he’d ever been in. While at the train station, he took cooked chicken he had been able to take with him from home, and shared it with his friend. As they ate, they threw the bones out the window. From the nearby forest, they saw haggard, starving men dash out of the trees to grab and eat the bones.

    When I hear people talk about the struggles they go through, I do agree that their experiences need to be validated. But when people talk about, for example, black slavery in the US, there are no experiences to validate. It’s one thing to acknowledge it happened, but guess what? There are still slaves today. None of them can say they or their parents or even their grandparents were slaves. But there are people today who are living in slavery, and this victim mentality because of something that happen over a century ago belittles what people are experiencing right now. It invalidates other people’s experiences.

    And that is a big part of the problem with these accusations of “white privilege”. You can’t demand your own experiences (or those of your ancestors) be validated, while at the same time, invalidating the experiences of others. That is incredibly hypocrisy (and also racist).

    I think, at a subconscious level, the people who do this know that, and that’s why they get so angry when anyone challenges their assertions. Since they are already invalidating everyone else’s experiences, they assume those who object to their victim mentality, racism and accusations of privilege are doing so to invalidate their own experiences. Validating how someone feels or what they experienced does not mean you have to agree with what they are demanding or accusing – and it certainly doesn’t mean you should roll over and accept their abuse because of it – but that seems to be the expectation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really fascinating story! Did he say why he was sent to a farm? And I totally agree, claiming victimhood off of your ancestor’s trials, but not your own is dishonest and disrespectful to those who have been through it. It’s like plagiarism, leeching off the trials of others to reap in undeserved rewards….

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Nazis sent captives all over the place; wherever labour was needed. Thanks to his friend’s bride, they were able to ask to be sent to a farm. They ended up in Bavaria.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Great points, Lady, but will fall on deaf ears. I used to try and say “hey, I’ve suffered too!”, but it never works. On the left, they will fight to the death to gain victim advantage.

    Instead, I now say “You’re right – I am privileged! And I’m proud of it! You can be too, if you wish. Let me show you how!”

    Still doesn’t work, but feels waaay better!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. They don’t know MY story either. Simple logic. But most importantly they do not know the American or Christian stories. Both of which give hope for a better life for anyone and everyone. Not a guarantee but an opportunity that the individual must make the most of.

    Liked by 5 people

    • The “victim” card, for all the excuses given by those who lay it down, are nothing more than admitting they gave up facing their challenges and would rather blame someone else for their place in life.
      Equal opportunities do not guarantee equal outcomes. Which is what the player of the victim card is looking for.
      The victim card falls apart when one looks around at those who have pulled themselves up out of the most dire of circumstances of their birth to a place of stellar acheivement.
      Dr. Ben Carson is but one of many examples which can be found if one looks for them.
      No excuses for not being a successful human being in this great nation of ours.

      Liked by 3 people

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