I get that a lot

Las Vegas Massacre. Oklahoma City Bomber. Columbine. The perpetrators are white. White Americans. Ordinary people. I’m not saying white Americans are more dangerous than the average American; they commit more crime only because they outnumber the rest of us. But that don’t make them inherently bad. I suggest we stop categorizing terrorists by race, religion and creed and fight terrorists. IMHO People (read all people, even non-Americans) should be able to enjoy a concert, a Batman movie, lunch at a fast food restaurant, a day at school – – without having to fear for their lives.

When our government turns its attention to safety in lieu of bigotry we’ll do better.

Seriously. Because as long as I think the threat is (fill in blank) Gays, Colors, People of other religions, I leave my back wide open for stabbing. Studies show most violence is domestic. I am more likely to be killed by angry partner than total stranger. That’s the facts. Sorry. I don’t make the rules I just make wry observations on the human condition. Fear of “other” may be natural, native and very, very, popular but it’s a horribly ineffective way to engender safety. The truth is some cisgender people are nice, nice, very nice and others are evil, mean-spirited party poopers.

In my office a certain white, cisgender, heterosexual person refuses to acknowledge the difference between me and another agent. We’re both darker than the color of her golf pants, so we look exactly alike. The doppelgänger in question is ten years younger than me, speaks English with a Spanglish accent, sports a bob and wears high heels. As for me? English with a MidWestern accent remains my only language, I have hair to my butt and I only wear flats. We’ve only worked together for four years – so I should understand. I seem to be constantly called upon to understand.  We’re both “other” and that’s all that matters to the tribal, the jingoistic.

My cancer makes me short tempered with her. I no longer have enough time to save the world.

The trouble with the phrase “white privilege” is the word “privilege.” It’s so loaded, so puerile. Who wouldn’t have a knee-jerk reaction to being rated above others by virtue of birth? Far too many people argue the straw man argument: I am NOT privileged. I’ve worked for everything I have. This is a classic straw man defense. Straw person arguments are intentionally misrepresented propositions that are set up because they is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument. White privilege has nothing to do with working your way up. White privilege isn’t son-of-a-celebrity privilege.

Chances are if you have white privilege you fish-in-water, don’t notice. If you never served over four years at an office where your co-worker can’t tell you apart from the only other non-white worker, consider yourself one of the lucky. Call me a snowflake, but it is certainly tiresome to keep re-introducing myself. And when people ask me if i dislike it (racism) so much, why don’t I move back to the city I say “Because I like hiking and nature more than the average person.” Which is true.

Privilege is never having to defend a love of nature.

White privilege is never having been asked to imitate a Vietnamese accent. (Wow when did that happen Kumari?) Pretty often in the 80s. Yup, pretty often back when  I remind my college dorm mates of the actresses they see weekly on M*A*S*H. They just delight in asking me to “do the accent.”  Cringe worthy moment? Apparently not, they ask more than twice. They ask a lot and for the record I’m not Vietnamese.

“Hey! The world was this way when I got here! What can I do about it?”

So glad you asked. My point is, and I do have one, is that when you are in the one-up position You have the ability to harm someone merely by doing nothing. You know, like the time I was at the Fiesta Days and I couldn’t get me a raffle ticket. I couldn’t get the vendor to acknowledge me when I said “hi.” She didn’t ask me to get lost. She just – didn’t – didn’t make eye-contact, didn’t respond, didn’t engage. If you never had trouble getting a raffle ticket – That. That’s some white privilege for you. Thank you very much.

In the 90s I work at an institution that weights raises on customer service. As a non-white person in an all white neighborhood speaking to the locals as an equal is interpreted as discourteous. God forbid the times I have to deliver bad news. . . .Your account’s overdrawn. You bounced a check. Your account’s been closed. etc. The customers complain. One accuses me of taking a job her daughter ought to have had. My poor manager hears I’ve been “rude/impolite/inappropriate.”  While the first one, an hefty white lady from Bakersfield makes apologies for me behind my back, my second manager, a Vietnam war veteran, steadfastly retorts “No.” He backs me by saying, “She wasn’t rude. How do I know? Kumari is never rude to any one.”

If you never need an ally, good for you. Consider yourself privileged.

I despair of shopping at Trader Joe’s in Bakersfield after “it” happens eleven too many times. One should have been enough, but I like some of their products and all of their prices. What is “it”? Standing in line while the person in front of me yaks and yaks: not the problem. The problem? Having the cashier upon reaching me either a) close with out comment b) ring me without eye contact, without comment or c) have the cashier begin conversation with someone else while ringing me up, to thus avoid acknowledging my presence. I certainly deem my self snowflake to quit patronizing them after one or two experiences. But after the 7th I had to ask myself why I was giving them my hard earned money. Lassen’s is more expensive, but the employees speak to me like I am a regular person.

An irregular person being? I think it’s irregular to shoot / bomb / harm other people unprovoked. Hatred is a feeling that ought to be specified not generalized. We shouldn’t hate people we don’t know precisely because we do not know them. For myself I find I like people exactly as much as I decide to. Sometimes, bless my heart, I actually like people who don’t like me at all. I’m bonehead that way. I sort of don’t always get when people don’t like me. I figure they’re just shy. Afraid of me because they never seen anyone like me. I get that. I get that a lot.

Now y’all play nice!

Sat Nam