The Wall Street Journal posted an article this week which clearly illustrated the blind spot white people in America often have about privilege, as well as the sense of entitlement that flows from that privilege.
Here’s the essence of the story:
Demographics have shifted over the past decade in a New York neighborhood. What used to be a predominately white neighborhood is now roughly half Asian, half white. The “traditional” (read: white) grocery stores all went out of business, and were often replaced by Asian markets.
Some members of the white community cried out to members of their local government, who in turn began pressuring the managers at the Asian markets to cater to the needs of the white community. You can read the full article here.
The following is a quote from a longtime white resident:
“Most of the supermarkets in the area are Asian markets and all they have is just one single aisle of food for us…We feel a little left out.”
Does anyone else see the great irony in her statement?
Notice how the white residents felt entitled to having their ethnic needs met. How they thought they shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable “in their own neighborhood.”
I’m using this story as an example, because the xenophobic attitudes and behavior of the white people are pretty easy to call out. But I wonder how many times I have thought or done something similar? (Answer: countless)
Lord, give me the eyes to see the world through the lens of the underrepresented. Make me aware of how I unwittingly add to a culture of oppression. Help me use my position of influence to try to make right what is wrong. Amen.