So How Come I Was Born White In the US to Middle Class Parents?”


3 February 2006




Ever wonder why you were born in the place you was born in? Sort of like thinking about the universe big band or expansion as they call it now, how did it all happen the way it did? The “how” part of my birth, I understand on the biological level or at least I think I do but as to the where of my birth and my skin color, these remain a mystery to me. One “answer” and the one I hear most off is that it was my Karma. Whatever I did or did not do in my past lives, resulted in me being born white, in America to middle class parents.


Aspects of my birth, viewed from Karma? First of all, of all the places in the world to be born, America is probably the most materialistic, being a democracy but actually a free enterprise system where who you are is determined by what you do for a living. Perhaps I was born in America to come to terms with my material needs and wants and to get over wanting and needing so much. Perhaps I am to learn in this life to give to the poor or share more or to concentrate on the spiritual. Certainly, from one point of view, I have to consider myself lucky having being been borne in America. Just think I could have been born in some small village in Africa or Asia and face constant starvation or disease. I could have been born in South America into some Amazon River tribe or in Canada in some wide-open space with little or no other social contact. I could have been born in Viet Nam and suffered through the Viet Nam war or born anyplace where war has broken out at one time or another. Born in Iraq and face what is going on there everyday now. So in the end, Karma or not, I have to consider myself lucky to have been borne in America.


Born in the state of Virginia. Why Virginia and in a small town instead of Kansas or Alabama or anywhere on the West Coast and why a small town and not New York City or Philadelphia? Why the East Coast? When America was invaded and conquered by the Europeans, the most conservative of the conservative stayed on the East Coast and did not venture Westward but instead became farmers and shop keepers. Again, my Karma such that born in Virginia a reflection of my conservative nature and something I need to work on in this life? I have traveled a good bit on America and certainly, my life would be different if I have been borne in Maine or North Dakota or North Central Texas. A mystery. And I find it funny or strange that I have no desire to move from where I am now. Oh, I do not live in my birth town but still live in Virginia and also interesting that many of the folks I grew up with to include relatives and school mates do still live in my and their birth town. They even more “conservative” or something than me? Perhaps I do not appreciate close family like I should and thus moved away from birth town and thus a mistake in this life, I need to recognize and correct to get this aspect of my Karma “clean”? Here, I am not sure if I was lucky being born in Virginia or on the East Coast or not. California has always seemed to fit my liberal thinking better than conservative, boxed in, Virginians. Worked in a place where fellow behind me was from a small West Virginia coal mining town and he the first of his family, extending back to Grandfather to have not ever worked in the mines and he so happy to be above ground everyday, did not mind crappy job we had.


Born white when I could have been born any number of skin tones. Skin tones is still a weird one for me. Hardly see what skin tones has to do with anything but then again, I one of those men who looks at a woman’s face before her body and so no wonder I hardly notice skin tones. Hard to imagine but what if I had been born black, an American Indian, or even some combination of races? Certainly, my life would be different. Being white, I have never experienced racism and thus have to consider myself lucky. I do wonder as the racial composition of America changes and Caucasian becomes the minority if I will experience racism or my children or their children? Wonder if someone who is not Caucasian wishes they were? In the end, I have to consider myself lucky to be Caucasian although probably only of benefit being born in America or Europe. What if I had been born Caucasian in Africa or the Middle East, maybe not such a good thing?


Born to middle class parents. Actually, lower middle class parents but certainly not poor or not wealthy either. In either case, poor or wealthy, my life would have been different and I wonder why neither of these extremes? Where does Karma fit into this situation, factor, attribute of my birth and subsequent life? Certainly I was lucky in that my parents both worked for a living and worked hard and provided for me and I really never in need or want for food or clothing and I never felt poor or that I had less that those around me. Oh, I was aware that some few had more than I did and some few had less but in general I was born in a place in time when most others where in the same economic class. Nice actually to be born into that situation. Can only imagine being born poor and having to be around those in school or on the playground with more and wanting it or envious all the time. Never felt envy as a child of material things others had, which was good or so I see it now. But could have been born to extremely poor parents and perhaps never had the opportunity to go to college and now be a gas station attendee or other low skilled worker in a society which only really recognizes the knowledge-based worker or highly skilled. Being born to poor parents, I wonder if I would have become rougher, tougher, and maybe even gotten into trouble with the law? With middle class parents, they respected the law and so too me, not that poor folks do not respect the law but when you are starving or in constant need of the basics of life, can understand where you might cross the line to get what you think you need or must have. Born to wealth parents? What would this have brought me? Here, I think I might have had more to overcome at my Karma level than being born to either to either poor or middle class parents but I not sure. From one perspective and perhaps my parent’s perspective to make it easier on themselves and their children, the wealthy were considered snooty and certainly not happy, as having money did not bring happiness. Again, by chance, Karma or whatever, in school, I not aware of anyone all that much poorer or wealthier than me and so nice environment to grow up in. Did however attend a high school for a short time where there where all three economic conditions present: the poor, the middle class and the wealthy and here the wealthy certainly ran the roost. They carried themselves differently, acted different, dressed differently and yes, at the time I thought them snooty and looking back on it, I think they were. Glad to not have been born to parents that taught me that I was better than others just because my parents had money.


Male? Tall male? Why? Again, a Karma issue? 50, 50 chance of being born male or female or close to that and so why male? Women and men are radically different in so many ways and have different roles in our American society and I think all cultures. So why was I born male? Was I a slacker in one or more of my previous lives and now am paying for it by being a husband, father, provider? And tall? Does not make a lot of sense to me but apparently cultural bias for tall men. Don’t think I ever saw a short IBM salesman. All at least 6 feet tall. Why am I tall? My father and mother were not tall but Grandfather on one side and you can say it is genetics and that is one answer for sure but genetics can be a roll of the dices and so still not an answer for me. What if I had been short? Would I have experienced some sort of bias against me in employment or dating? I suspect so although, it make little sense to me other than being some primitive caveman, protection, strong man, linkage.


So here I am, a product of my birthplace, race, sex, etc. etc. and not a real clue as to why when could have been so many other combinations.


I wonder about you. Ever give any thought to your being here in the state you are currently in? Male, female, race, location, birthplace, economic status? Might as well try to see into a black hole or figure out the true name of God.



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