Dominic’s Perspective on Privilege
I want to bring my readers the voices of the many Young Adults I have the pleasure of working with. I have shared the book, The Price of Privilege, with all my students and I was very taken with Dominic’s perspective on privilege.
A bit of background…
Dominic was born and raised in Orange County, California. He has three brothers and is the middle son, born just 13 months behind his older brother. He attended the same schools as his brothers, in fact, with many of the same teachers.
Privilege can be measured in many ways — and Dominic was privileged to have had committed parents who provided him time, attention, discipline, and love. They met his needs and many, but not all, of his wants. His relationship with his brothers was special. By choice, he and his older brother, Matt, shared a room until they left for college.
Dominic is an excellent student, kind to all, and often cited as a “pleasure to have in class.”
Hi, my name is Dominic De Grassi and I will be a sophomore in the College of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Last spring, Jan and I were meeting and talked about “privilege.” She asked me if I knew I was privileged and I replied with no hesitation YES! She asked me to provide her with an example, and I told her a story from my childhood.
When you’re a child, your birthday party is one of the major pinnacles of the year (other than Christmas and other few holidays.) And that’s why every year, my mom put much planning into my parties, making sure I had plenty of guests, food, and entertainment. One year I had a karate party where my uncle came and gave everyone karate lessons. Another year I had a sports party where 30 of my friends came and we had competitions in different sports. As you can see, my birthday parties were a very big deal for me. Not only were my birthday parties like that, many of my friends’ parties were similar in nature.
However, one party I went to when I was in the fifth grade helped me realize that I was privileged. I had just met a new friend that year, and he invited me to his birthday party that was supposed to be at a park. What I imagined was a big party with balloons and plenty of people, but it turned out to be quite the contrary.
There were six people there, including me, due to the family only being able to provide food for that many people. And you would expect the food to be along the lines of snacks, drinks, cake, brownies, and other treats; but all they could provide was a bowl of spaghetti, a bowl of Cheetos, and Capri-Sun drinks for the few of us. There weren’t balloons, party favors, or planned activities. There was also no parental supervision either, for that matter. The parents were not able to come due to being stuck at work. So the six of us came to this park, ate the food, and played with a soccer ball for a while. And that was the person’s entire birthday party.
I came home that day and told my parents about the party, and they explained to me that not every person can have a celebration like I can. I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but as I grew older I came to understand that only a few people in this world are privileged the way I am, and that I should never take that for granted.