Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor | #5

After my last blog post about privilege, I think another area in which I have privilege is where I’m from. One aspect in which I’ve definitely struggled with a little is the concept of me, someone who was born and raised in Ann Arbor, just stopping in Ypsilanti every day to work at a community healthcare center where I’m doing “good work.” Even though I didn’t grow up in class privilege in Ann Arbor, I still had access to a lot of the privilege that being in Ann Arbor and being in a family that works for the University affords you. I had great public schools, great music lessons, etc. I also was surrounded by people who held very privileged mindsets – and who don’t think great things about Ypsilanti. As open as Ann Arbor strives to be, I think that it is a city that doesn’t often consider the vast amount of privilege that it holds, and there is a tendency to look down on the surrounding cities, like Ypsilanti, and think that Ann Arbor is better than them. Even as I consciously understand and do not embrace that mindset at all, I think I still have had to push myself to unpack a lot of the unconscious thoughts or ideas that I might have. I’m spending a lot of time in Ypsilanti now, and seeing how it really isn’t anything like what I was taught as a kid. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what privilege makes someone form those types of stereotypes, and what power structures and oppressions are reproduced and upheld when we continue to hold those mindsets.  As I’m doing research in implicit bias, I definitely have been needing to acknowledge the ways in which my own implicit bias has shaped me.

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