by Phil Sinitiere:
In Grand Rapids this past weekend, I had a striking encounter with white privilege.
The moment I witnessed involved questions about the nature and location of desserts and coffee on a refreshment table; in other words, the moment about which I write took place in a particular social setting, at the nexus of culture(s) and place(s). This story features “person one” and “person two.”
All of a sudden, the ambiance of the moment was ruptured when person one assumed person two to be hired help for the event. Without even a kind word of greeting or hand extended in friendship, person one revealed that, to use the words of the Apostle Paul, “principalities and powers” are everywhere evident. As words were uttered unconscious racism couched in white privilege reared its ugly head. Very often, the inadvertent display of the unconscious objectifies the conscious. The simple and direct response to these unfortunate and rancid comments roundly condemned the privilege they subtly displayed. More…