Beyond Status Quo

D7B3P3 Hooded man in the shadow

There are so many things people living in their dominate culture don’t usually worry about as much as others from a subdominant culture do, such as: having an encounter by law enforcement, what to tell their kids to do in the event of an encounter with the law, getting followed by someone in a store, getting arrested, if so will their peers be on a jury, having access to healthcare, having access to good food, getting stopped because they are wearing a hoodie, having store rep. insist you don’t have enough money to buy a certain item, having people avoid you, eating certain foods in public, cultural name causing your resume to be tossed in the bin, not getting hired, getting fired.

I spent a lot of time as a musician in Nashville and thus a lot of time eating beans and rice. I was broke and needed some money so I took a job on a painting crew of 3 people. There were two white guys and an African-American. We all worked equally as hard. The African-American fellow was a pleasant man to work with. He didn’t have a car but was always on time. He didn’t have quite as much experience as the rest of the crew but made up for it in work ethic. A week after I joined he got canned. This situation spelled it out for me clearly. He didn’t have a car or the experience because he couldn’t hold a job that would afford him both of those. As soon as a white man walked on the job site looking for a job he or someone of his color would be the first to go. This happens frequently in the South and elsewhere across the country. Privilege is invisible to those who are not watching and most of us in the dominant culture don’t have eyes big enough to see. Some don’t want to see.

As BH&H suggests to combat this we need to be positive about our own racial identity, have ongoing “self-examination and increased interpersonal effectiveness in multicultural” and having a “living commitment to anti-racist activity”. While I don’t think race exists racism does and we need to be active in combating it. I believe it starts through the path of knowledge as knowledge is power…

3 thoughts on “Beyond Status Quo”

  1. Tyson – I may have to steal a quote from you cause it was that good…”Privilege is invisible to those who are not watching and most of us in the dominant culture don’t have eyes big enough to see.” I always thought of myself as a pretty enlightened individual but I have learned a lot over the past few years that made me realize that even I have blind spots.

  2. Tyson,

    It is clear that you put a lot of thought into this post, and I am glad I read this. Some of these scenarios is something that I have never thought about. I am Alaska Native, but I was lucky enough to grow up in a town where racism isn’t directed towards natives. There is still stereotypes, but it is interesting that stereotypes and racism can be the same, but also can be different.

    Thank you,
    Mason Shearer

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