“I had once believed that we were all masters of our fate--that we could mold our lives into any form we pleased... I had overcome deafness and blindness sufficiently to be happy, and I supposed that anyone could come out victorious if he threw himself valiantly into life's struggle. But as I went more and more about the country I learned that I had spoken with assurance on a subject I knew little about... I learned that the power to rise in the world is not within the reach of everyone.” -- Helen Keller [emphasis mine]
I've been re-reading Lies My Teacher Told Me this week, and thoughtfully considering Loewen's discussion of how American textbooks deliberately silence Keller's adult work as a socialist in order to keep her "safely" contained as an inspirational disabled child who overcame her disability in a sufficiently vague manner that doesn't have to be interacted with as it concerns social class and marginalization in America when I stumbled onto this quote which is basically pure, distilled incredible.
Last night, a preview to a movie we were watching concerned the rise of some white male director in Hollywood whom I have never heard of. There was a tagline at the end of the preview which said something along the lines of "[Person] really epitomized the American dream: that you can achieve anything if you just work hard enough." I mentally added, "...if you're an educated able-bodied white cis straight male member of a high enough social class, and also have a significant degree of good luck."
But I guess a meaningful nod to privilege doesn't make as inspirational a tagline. *that face*
Related Reading: John Scalzi's Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is