Friday, October 21

Assuming Privilege

When do you decide that you have attained such a station in life that you can assume others are inferior? That's not worded well but that is the basic idea of what I'm asking.

When do you know that you have the right and true way of doing things or being someone?

I've already mentioned that I am working at a bookstore; a very cool, a very liberal bookstore. What I didn't mention - for those who don't live in Nashville - is that this bookstore is in a upper middle-class, upper class part of Nashville. Some of these folks have some serious M-O-N-E-Y.

Some of the patrons come in with this attitude. They do things to the cashiers and the rest of the booksellers that you just don't do to people you respect. For example, it's not uncommon for them to grab a Tennessean or a NYT from the doorway and come to the counter, toss (literally) the buck fifty or whatever on the counter, yell out what its for and turn around to go back out the door.

Now, I've worked enough retail to know that it's not just in this high dollar neighborhood where people act this way but there is a certain arrogance that these people have that seems to be more the property of the rich than others. Also, is that I can almost guarantee that most of these people were raised with that good old Southern value system of respect, courtesy and honor.

What started this thought was something completely different. We were talking about people who assume the moral high ground in politics. When people who aren't in power are convinced that the people who are in power are morally wrong. That the powerful won't see the error of their ways without total destruction. This dogmatic belief in their POV that the other side is wrong and there is no middle ground.

Don't get me wrong, I can get on a soapbox too, but I usually come down from it pretty quickly. I am talking about the people who stay there, the people who refuse to hear the reasons and justifications behind the actions of the "other side".

I am a strong believer that every situation has two sides and the "right path" (to borrow from the Buddha) is the "middle way" (to continue the Buddhist metaphor). We have to recognize that, as one of my coworkers said: "We all come to the table fucked up." The quicker we recognize that the quicker we can get past that.

Now, I am down from my high horse.
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