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Reflection Paper #1 
When we’re born, we have no control over the parents we’re born to, our gender, our race or the class we occupy. Yet, the way we’re treated by our society is largely based on those factors. I was born to a white mother and Mexican father, as a female, in upper middle class America. While not all of the labels I’ve just applied to myself can be deemed desirable by our culture, I’ve managed to experience privilege from them all in their own unique ways. While I was unaware of the advantages I was granted as a child, I believe that I was unknowingly socialized to use them to my benefit. Moving into my teenage years and young adulthood I was flummoxed by the realization that other races were treated very differently than I or my white counterparts. For as many benefits as I enjoy, there have also been times in my life where I was oppressed for the very same reasons I was able to experience privilege. The dualistic nature of a label can make it difficult to be aware of the benefits you reap if you’re also being held back by the same factors. Taking this class has opened my eyes to the fact that I enjoy many luxuries that most people take for granted. Moving forward in my career as a nurse I plan to make it a point to remember what I’ve learned about society and to be aware of how my experience differ from that of my patients and coworkers. 
The biggest effect that privilege has had on my life has been the opportunity for advancement in every job I’ve held. As an administrative professional, being a female has allowed me to be promoted into the management positions I’ve occupied. I believe that working for male doctors, I’ve been seen as an ally to the owners of the practices, not just because I’m competent and trustworthy, but because I’m not perceived as a threat to their patriarchal positions as the leader of the practice (Healey and O’Brien, 2015, p.18). Also, many doctors aim to run “family oriented” practice and our societal gender roles tell us that women are the ideal gender to handle family related issues  (Healey and O’Brien, 2015, p.18). At the same time that my gender has afforded me the ability to ascend to higher positions, it has also allowed me to take steps backwards in my career without negative repercussions or judgement. I needed to reduce stress in my life significantly and my solution was to cut back at work and find a job as a general administrator rather than a manager. Men are pressured to climb the career ladder and as a woman, I felt no judgement from friends or family in taking a step backwards. Or rather, once my issue was resolved, no pressure to start climbing again. While being a female has its setbacks, which I will discuss later in this paper, I can say being a woman has afforded me the opportunity to rise to positions of leadership in the healthcare setting. 
Although I am the product of miscegenation or marriage of two people from different racial backgrounds, I have fair skin, freckles and dark blonde hair (Healey and O’Brien, 2015, p.11). This has given me an interesting perspective on privilege as an adult, but as a child, I was completely unaware that because I am white, I was being treated better than peers of various ethnic and racial minority groups (Healey and O’Brien, 2015, p.10). I think I was unaware because no one near me discussed our race. It simply wasn’t an issue due to the fact that there were only 2 African American students in my class during middle and high school. However, when I went to college at the age of 17, my perspective changed drastically. My best friend at Augustana was Roosevelt. A black male, who came from an upper middle class family like mine. We had both experienced the privilege of seldom wanting for anything but our social experiences  with the world around us were so different. He told me about the racism and prejudice he encountered on a regular basis. I was shocked and, admittedly, thought he was being a bit dramatic until we got pulled over one afternoon. The officer cited a tail light out as the reason he stopped us, despite the fact that Rosie’s vehicle was a brand new BMW, not even a week old. The officer let us go without a warning after verifying that Rosie owned the vehicle and when we returned to the dorm, upon further investigation there wasn’t even a tail light out! I had never experience discrimination first hand but Rosie told me that this was a common occurrence for him and his friends and not get so upset because we got lucky that nothing happened. This opened my eyes. I’ve seldom been pulled over, but a black man behind the wheel of a BMW needed permission and proof that he was allowed to drive that vehicle. While my life began in a little bubble, clean and white, as I aged, and interacted with other races and minorities, I quickly discovered that I had experienced a world sanitized for me because of the color of my skin. Its very interesting to me that I didn’t realize it until that moment, and I attribute that to socialization, or the way in which I learned about my culture growing up (Healey and O’Brien, 2015, p.80). I am shocked that its so easy to exist in segregation from racial strife if you are a white individual in America. Ever since that incident, I’ve been much more aware of how clerks smile at me in their stores, police men wave from their cars, and how many people in “my world” are blind to their white privilege. 
Patricia Hill Collins is a modern sociologist who promotes intersectionality. Intersectionality is the “view that acknowledges that everyone…has multiple group memberships that create very different realities for people with varying…statuses” (Healey and O’Brien, 2015, p.14). While I’ve experienced plenty of privilege because of my class, race and gender I’ve also experienced the dual nature of the labels I prescribe to. My best example has to do with gender. Earlier, I discussed how my gender allowed me to excel in work in title, but it has also held me back in regards to my pay. Early on in my career, I was working a front desk position in a dental office. I had a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience, 1 year of experience and 3 solid letters of reference. I was offered the position for $9.00 an hour. One year later, an opening became available for the same position because my co-worker left to be a stay at home mother. I suggested to my friend Cody that he should apply. He had an associate’s degree in veterinary medicine, but had only ever worked in hospitality as a chef and restaurant busboy. He was one year younger than me and Cody got the job and the dentist started him out at $13.00 an hour. Needless to say, when I found out I was horrified and frustrated. In that moment, although I had class and race on my side, I fully believe that my gender was the cause of the difference in pay. 
While I can say I was relatively unaware of privilege growing up, even as an adult, the most glaringly visible one, to me, is my race. It has afforded me the greatest ease as I’ve moved through the various phases of my life. Although I became truly and fully aware of it for the first time back in college, I have not forgotten and notice pretty regularly the absence of prejudice in my life. This class has been the most interesting and eye opening one that I’ve taken for my nursing degree. Its given me reasons for the trends I’ve noticed in my life and also perspectives of people of different races, genders and backgrounds. Keeping that in mind, I know that once I become an nurse, I will see people from all walks of life and the knowledge I’ve gained about privilege as well as oppression will be an important tool in the care and comfort I provide to my patients. 

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