Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The hands of White Privilege

 Something I should have done the other day when I wrote this rant about checking my privilege.

Here is a picture I took about 12 hours ago of my hands, which bear the brunt of all my white privilege. Note the manicured nails, lack of calluses, and background, which was taken at my local country club, where myself and fellow co-conspirators drank mint juleps and ordered around  the colored servants through our monocles.


   I am the descendent of slaves and terrorists- my family is American, for two generations now, but the B family was of Ireland, from the north on my dad's side, and the south on my mom's. So quit talking about reparations. 800 years of killing, all the blood still washes away.

       When someone complains that they're not making enough money sitting on their ass in a cubicle, or answering phones or making people lunch, I refer them to my picture. When your natural sleep position is to cradle your hands, which are curled into cramped claws when you doze off, I might be more interested, but for sympathy, I refer everyone to Webster's, where it can be found between "Shit" and "Syphilis."

   And I'm not looking for sympathy. My hands look like a bird's foot because it's the price I pay to do something I actually like to do. How many people, down deep, enjoy what they do for work? I certainly do, and it's something I choose to do. I could do other, less interesting things, and make less money and spend more time with the people I love... who would probably not like what that would do for my personality.
     I worked at Burger King. When I was 14. I made $3.25 an hour. You know, I didn't like it, but it wasn't terrible. Thing is, I knew minimum wage isn't something an adult should be satisfied with, but it's better than $0.00 an hour. It'll do to keep from dying of malnutrition while people look for better-paying work. And that's the business model- you're supposed to be smart enough to know that you're not going to feed your family and retire on McDonald's burger-assembly wages, and everyone knows it.
      Thing is, when you see all those people working at a fast food place, half of them have other jobs, and work far more hours than you do. And that's a good thing. A hard thing, but hard work is good work, on payday, anyhow, and my hats are off to those folks who bust their ass and put in the hours to make shitty pay work for them, but even then, it CAN be temporary, and probably should be. As much as I don't really mind, the 90-100 hour workweek isn't something I'll do forever. Eventually I'll slow down. I have enough odd and esoteric skills that I can choose to do that. Not everyone does, but everyone CAN, and that's my point.


Anonymous said...

i wonder what mental price we mariners pay for working the way we do. probably more mental scares than the physical ones.
rgds joe

Anonymous said...

I can't stand the concept of white privilege---it's a myth. Now black privilege is very real--affirmative action, quotas, handouts.