Was following ... husker, I think, to end up here. Read through to two/thirds of the thread, very interesting. Two points:
Agreeing with someone's previous statement, I think money trumps skin color related to privilege in most cases.
Depending on how I'm dressed, I will or will not be shadowed in shops.
I know this feeling - the way I used to be dressed (torn-up jeans, army boots, punk hairdo), I was looked on very
suspiciously by shop assistants and the like ;-).
But the essential thing here is, me thinks, we have that choice
. We can
dress better, make the impression of having more money, and get better feedback.
Blacks often get the same distrust, and theres nothing they can do about it - happens just the same if they look smart. Cant change your skin colour. Often enough I've wanted to ask specific shop assistants, post office workers, cops, even (or especially, sadly enough) temping agency workers, about whether they'd have treated the guy in fronta me the same if he'd been white like me. (But I'm the kinda guy who only comes up with the words of how to do so a long time afterwards - whether it concerns myself or someone else).
Its not always that way, and I know especially the bigger store chains make sure to have policies to counteract that kinda thing nowadays (but only cause lawsuits and such have made 'em do so) - but we dont ever
have to worry about that. So thats privilege.
Well, duh. Not saying anything new. Just a bottom line kind of thing.
I do believe the banking complaint is more to do with your financial history, than whiteness or blackness.
Nothing to do with financial history
- I mean, yes, of course, thats the first thing they look at, thats the obvious part. But here we're talking area-specific selection. I've once had some kind of loan or credit card or something (I forgot) refused, simply because of my postal code. They hadnt even looked into my personal data, had never seen me, just my A4 application form - and (against policy, I'm sure), the guy on the phone told me clear-out I lived in the wrong postal code.
But you'd be right, too, in a way - that wasnt about race - it was about geography - and thus, actually about class
more than anything else. Just, you happen to live in a country where race and geography coincide as stringently as all that - and thats all to do with racism again.
Still, I do think that because the race and class issues, even in practical examples like this, are so blatantly intertwined in America, its made the class part a bit into the "hidden" element. The part that was never addressed properly because, whatever the topic is that it figures into, because of the overlap, it will also involve blatancies about race discrimination, and the attention will understandably focus on that foremost, because the wrong is so easily recognized there. Not saying there should be less attention to that race part, just remarking that much of the discussion about class elsewhere has been translated solely as a race issue in the US. But I started a thread about that, long time ago ('Class - America's dirty little secret'), and I dont think many agreed with the observation. And I am an outsider, after all.
Kids hanging outside here, when the police comes to send them away, I do notice a difference, sometimes, in the way they're spoken to. They all get the same warning procedure (and ultimately, fine), just, with white kids, some cops are more polite. But, listening to their talk day after day, it also strikes me that theyre all
gonna have serious problems of dis-priviledge later in life, white and black. I was talking with Stasia about this just the other day. The girls, for example, the white ones too (or especially, actually) - their accent
, way of talking, intonation, everything - you just know that, with that accent, theyre simply not going to get any office job. Even if they might well be just as capable of calculating, filing, whatever. And thats not something as easily changeable as your clothes.