White Privilege Lives Right Here. Can You Hear It?

So, an interesting thing happened on Facebook a few days ago.

subway, trains, victorian

Old Boston T Station at Downtown Crossing

No, I don’t mean any of the usual dreck that goes on on there.

I posted a photo of a very old T stop entrance (Boston shortened name for the MBTA subway) that I happened upon on a street leading to the Park Street station. It was a beautiful entrance and obviously one of the originals.

I was amazed that after all of these years I could still find something like this that I had missed. And for a moment, Boston was new to me again.

Anyway, after I posted the photo an old friend on Facebook wrote, “Back when there was order in the world.” Now this comment smacked of white privilege to me in such an institutional way. I replied, “Yes, but the order only worked for us white people. It didn’t work so well if you were black or brown.” I think I stunned her a bit as I know she didn’t mean any harm. She replied that she hadn’t said anything about race.

This was an example of institutional racism at its most classic. The only way to make the statement she made is to only see things from your own perspective. There is no way anyone of any minority group would themselves say that the world order was better back then here in this country. But just as importantly, the comment was made without any intention of malice or harm.

I feel it’s important to mention these things in as kind and non-aggressive a way as possible because people will stay in the fog that we’ve been trained to stay in if not. Being made to see the reality of how the world looks through other’s eyes is the only way to continue the change.

Weirdly, when I went to write this blog piece and went to look up the interchange again, all of the comments were gone. It’s so bizarre! The original likes are gone too. Just a few new ones. Facebook really is creeping me out these days…

Got any good stories of Facebook creepiness?

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