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My Name is Simone Joyaux. And I win. But Not Quite.

My name is Simone Joyaux. I’m a white, heterosexual, well-educated, affluent woman. I win – except for my gender. It’s a disadvantage to be a woman in every country in the world and in every state in the US of A, where I live.

But because I’m white and heterosexual (accidents of birth) – and well-educated (thanks, mom and dad) – I “win.” It’s called unearned privilege.

Stop talking about “disadvantage!” Instead, let’s all of us focus on our unearned privilege. Try examining that angle of your life.

My life partner and I have a family slogan: “People eat, sleep, dream, and make love in languages other than English, in colors other than ours (white), and in pairings other than opposite sex. And we think that’s beautiful. We fight for that.”

Life partner…I once promised myself not to use the word “husband” until there was marriage equality in the USA. Now there is marriage equality here. But hell, “life partner” still can agitate audiences and I love that.

Thanks, Papa Georges, for raising me to recognize and respect differences – and welcome them. Thanks, mom and dad for giving me the opportunity to experience life differently through family and friends and travel to other countries and try different foods and learning another language and…

The US Constitution talks about equality but never mentions equity. Equality isn’t enough. Equality means fairness and equal rights and opportunities. Equality means treating everyone the same.

But that presupposes we’re all the same. We aren’t. Equity means ensuring that everyone has what’s needed to participate in life equally.

Ah, such great advantages because I was born white and heterosexual. I got a good education because my family could pay for it.

I do remember, however, when newspaper job postings were separated by male, female. I sure know what it means to be socialized as female and male – awful for both women and men, boys and girls.

So I fight for equity. And that means I support affirmative action because that’s the only way that we achieve equity.

I believe in justice, social justice. And that requires such enormous social change that I’m pretty damn sure I won’t live to see it.

I live in a country that has to have the Black Lives Matter movement because we’re still gunning down African American citizens. We haven’t even had a female president yet – and yes, that is sexism. And on and on and on…

I love philanthropy. I firmly believe that people and businesses have the right to choose where to give – in order to fulfill their own aspirations. One’s alma mater. The literacy organization down the street. My favorite theater or dance company. Fighting global climate change. And on and on.

But I wish that more organizations and more people actually understood social justice – and the enormous need for huge social change. I wish more donors gave through organizations to achieve justice.

My name is Simone Joyaux. I win because I’m a white, heterosexual, well-educated, affluent person. But I lose as a woman.


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