On privilege

Three things in the last 24 hours have me thinking about privilege.

First, Fobazi’s great post at Hack Library School about diversity and intersectionality. Read it, read the comments (seriously).

Then there was the guilty plea of Florida Rep. Trey Radel on drug charges. He said he’d get treatment so he was sentenced to probation. He’s white, he’s a politician, so he gets to say these things. What if he were one of his constituents? Would the charge still be only a misdemeanor? Would he have been able to get out of jail time by offering to get treatment?

And finally there was the brief exchange I had with a security officer at the courthouse this morning. I had a fork in my purse. (Also a container of pasta salad.) I realized as I crossed the street on my way into the courthouse that my fork might cause me trouble. It turned out it didn’t. Said the security guard as my purse went through the scanner, “you’ve got a big fork there. You’re not planning to stab someone with it, are you?” Me: “Nope.” Him: “Have a good day.” At first I thought “wow, sane security.” Then I wondered if it was sane security or privilege. I look like I’m not going to stab someone (white, smile on my face) therefore my fork is fine; if I looked different, would I have gotten the same reaction? I don’t know.



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