I have a horrible cold and my throat hurts very badly. The baby didn’t sleep well tonight, and I’m tired but I still have a whole day of traveling ahead of me. I will only arrive in St. Louis at 11 pm. And in the midst of all this, I have to awaken to some spoiled rich brat accusing me of “privilege” on my blog because I suggested that parents who don’t even teach their own kids to read are irresponsible. So let me tell you how my uber-privileged Soviet parents taught me to read.
In the USSR, my father, a linguist by profession who worked at a research institution, made 110 rubles per month before taxes. Just to compare, a pair of winter boots cost upwards of 200 rubles, a pair of jeans upwards of 150 rubles. (And you had to travel all the way to Moscow to get them, which cost extra). There was no food in the stores, so you had to pay insane prices at the black market even for basic things like butter.
Both my parents worked day and night to provide for us. I barely even saw my mother who had to teach 10 classes a day six days a week (those among us who teach will understand how hard this is). And then there was grading, class planning, and the endless Soviet bureaucracy.
So to teach me to read, my mother put up a board on the wall where she would leave a short message for me before going to work. I missed my mamma whom I never got to see, so all day long I worked on deciphering her message. And then I’d try to leave my own message for her.
This is how we, the children of privilege, acquire our knowledge.