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Wind-Wolf was strapped in snugly with a deliberate restriction on his arms and legs. Although Western society may argue this hinders motor skill development and abstract reasoning, we believe it forces the child to first develop his intuitive faculties, rational intellect, symbolic thinking, and five senses (Lake 20).
When he watches television, he asks why the white people hate us and always kill us in movies and take everything from us. He asks why the other kids in school are not taught about the power, beauty, and essence of nature or provided with an opportunity to experience the world around them firsthand (Lake 21).
White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks (McIntosh 1).
I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging (McIntosh 5).
First, I found An Indian Fathers Plea to be a strong, emotional reading. From the very beginning I was overwhelmed by the way, in which this Indian father spoke of his childs upbringing. I would not say that I was disgusted by the way that he spoke about his child being strapped with a deliberate restriction, but it was something that concerned me. I think it would be accurate for me to say that at that point of the reading I was concerned for that particular child and for all Native American children. The cultural clash was extreme and this surprised and concerned me. As well, I felt angry at this Indian father because I felt that he was abusing his child, depriving him of safe, happy, and above all, civilized education. I simply could not believe that a parent would treat his or her child as though he was an animal (a pet of sorts; dog, cat, etc.). As I continued reading the Indian fathers story, however, I started to forego my anger and actually start feeling sympathetic for both father and son. Upon learning that the boy questioned his father about the discriminatory portrayal of Native Americans in media I felt extremely sorry. When I first started reading I had forgotten that Native Americans had been so abused in the United States that they had a very hard time when it came to trust and interaction, especially as discriminatory treatment is still very much real. At the end I was somewhat saddened by the situation that father and son experienced. However, I was also happy because the father was clearly looking out for his son and wanted him to be happy.
Secondly, as I started reading McIntoshs paper I must confess that I was somewhat at a loss. From the beginning I did not quite understand the title of the article. In fact, the first thing that I said when I read the title of the article was: White privilege? However, as soon as I started reading, it all started making sense and my initial surprise literally turned into shame. The truth of the matter is that white people do not come to realize all of the privileges that they have simply for the sake of being white. This, as I started to realize, owed to hundreds of years of discrimination against other races. As I read about how white privilege transcends into seemingly mundane things such as passports, visas, clothes, and even checks, I started feeling bad for minorities (especially here in the United States, where African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians have been discriminated against for years). This was sad, but what was the saddest and most surprising fact is that most whites fail to realize all of the privileges that they have. I was personally touched by this reading; I felt extremely bad because I have lived a life filled with privilege without even noticing it. These privileges were those that I have never earned and I am not proud of; I was ashamed that I was receiving a better treatment because of the color of my skin, but what hurt the most, is that this privilege had come at the expense of other peoples suffering.
Inspiration; sometimes its all we need. Todays world is one, in which we take too much time thinking and complaining about the things that we dont have, when instead we should be thankful for what we do have. Most people dont see how fortunate they are, but this surely does not apply to Michael Peters, a 52 year old who works at Subway. Life is what we make of it; instead of complaining about what we dont have, we should focus on, and be thankful for, what we do have. If you do this, I guarantee that you will be a lot happier with the life youve got. Take me, for example. The recession took everything from me, but Im still here. I keep my head up, do the best I can with what I have, and at the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror and be at peace with the man I see. This was the answer I got from Michael Peters when I asked him why it was that it didnt bother him having to work at Subway, making sandwiches and taking orders at age 52. This guy has been working at Subway for almost a year now; he used to own a small import/export business, but the recession drove his business to the ground. At age 52, he found himself back to square one, and having no savings or the age to be able to apply to a job more along his education, qualifications, and experience, he took the one job offered to him. Today, this admirable man works Mondays through Saturdays, taking the closing shift (which is by far the toughest of them all) as one of Subways many sandwich artists.
Of course, his job entails more than just making sandwiches; he alternates this job with a cashiers job, and sometimes he is assigned to cleaning duty. This makes his job even less appealing; its the kind of job that would make anyone feel depressed. But not Michael, who is a good natured, optimistic guy who always hopes for the best; he honestly believes that hes hit a slump, but with hard work, effort, and optimism, hes sure that he will get back on his feet. His boss, Ted Owens tells us: Mikes just a joy to be around. I mean, hes always on top of everything; he does his job flawlessly, and he never complains. He always keeps a positive attitude, and he motivates those around him to do the same. I daresay he is the best employee I have ever had; I wish I had ten more like him.
In the end, its not about how much money you make; in the past I had more money, and Id be lying if I said I dont want to have that security again, but this has taught me that money isnt everything in life. In the end, its the people you have that really count. Every day I get out of here and when I get home I get to hold my wife; my three kids have already finished college, they all work and Im fortunate because they all love their parents dearly. Could I be better off financially? Sure, thats unquestionable, because lets face it, this isnt exactly the highest paying job of the bunch (he laughs). However, if you ask if I could be better off, be it emotionally/mentally or in terms of my health, Id have to go with no. I have a loving family, dear friends, and a job that helps me feel Im still a person who can contribute, who can lead an active, productive life.
Remember what I said earlier about inspiration? Upon listening to Michael Peters, its clear that he is the kind of people that can motivate and inspire others to do better, to be better. Lifes tough, and not because of some evil plan, but simply because thats what life is. Some people let themselves be broken and beaten by lifes hardships; others keep their heads high, their spirits up, and work tirelessly to pull through, focusing always on what actually matters. I believe that Michaels example is one that all of us should look at carefully; this is the kind of example that we must strive to emulate in our own lives. Why? Because in the end, its not about the money you make because money comes and goes, but about the life experiences, relationships, and knowledge you get along the way. Last Friday I walked into Subway to get a sandwich and talk with some friends. I just wanted to take a load off, forget about the books and just relax. I walked out of Subway inspired by Michael Peterss life example.