There’s a place where privilege reigns supreme, where some suffer while others royally rule. It’s a realm of radical difference, a dimension of dreadful disparity.
If you dare stare into the frightful face of inequity, look no further than the pernicious prince-and-pauper paradigm playing out at The Home Depot.
I’m speaking of the unjust variance among the store’s staff.
You’ve no doubt noticed it — while on the prowl for the perfect piece of PVC pipe or a sexy pirate yard ornament, you couldn’t help but observe the vast array of social ladder rungs represented by the viceroys and victims in orange aprons.
Thankfully, the home improvement chain recently attempted to reshuffle society’s deck.
Twitter account Libs of Tik Tok posted a Home Depot employee worksheet called “Unpacking Privilege.” It defines the “P” word as “a special benefit or advantage that may be earned or unearned.”
“A person may or may not be aware that they are benefitting from privilege,” the handout states.
Special, unearned advantage or entitlement, used to one’s own benefit or to the detriment of others. These groups can be advantaged based on social class, age, disability, ethnic or racial category, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion.
Societal privileges that benefit white people beyond what is commonly experienced by people of color under the same social, political and economic circumstances.
The looks of privilege are laid out:
- If while growing up, college was an expectation of you, not a dream, you have class privilege.
- If you can expect time off from work to celebrate your religious holidays, you have Christian privilege.
- If you can use public bathrooms without stares, fear or anxiety, you have cisgender privilege.
- If you don’t have to worry about how to get into a store, you have able-bodied privilege.
- If you don’t have to explain that your spouse is of the same gender, you have heterosexual privilege.
Last but not least:
- If you’re confident that the police exist to protect you, you have white privilege.
A checklist allows staffers to fully process their position. “If you don’t have to think about it,” the sheet says, “it’s a privilege.”
Check Your Privilege
We’re living in an interesting time. I’d guess this is history’s first era in which institutional entities have striven to assure each individual they’re a loser — as either an oppressor undeserving of success or a victim incapable of it.
Speaking of suffering, Home Depot reckons racism is “Racial Prejudice + Power.”
And if you’re white, you’re uncomfortable:
Why It’s Uncomfortable to Talk About White Privilege
The word “white” creates discomfort, especially when individuals are not used to being defined or described by their race.
“When you feel unformattable talking about White Privilege,” engage in self-interrogation:
- How does this lens change my understanding of racial dynamics?
- How can my unease help reveal the assumptions I have been making?
- Is it possible that because I am white, there are some racial dynamics that I can’t see?
- Am I willing to consider that possibility?
- If I’m not willing to do so, then why not?
There’s more. This is reportedly from a Home Depot in Calgary, Alberta pic.twitter.com/CUBh9INLep
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) March 23, 2022
Why would a company feel compelled to convince low-wage workers selling dog perfume and lawn fertilizer that their plight is pungently pathetic?
On Wednesday, Home Depot lent insight to the New York Post.
A spokeswoman from Home Depot’s US headquarters confirmed to The Post that the white privilege notice was material from its Canadian division. She said it hadn’t been approved by the company’s diversity and inclusion department. The flyer had a Home Depot logo at the top.
Given that the company boasts a diversity and inclusion department, might similar information be issued nationwide? That remains to be seen.
In the meantime, I’m happy to have been proven right: On Monday, I was in Beverly Hills. And as I passed the immaculately manicured yards, the Buckingham-worthy walls, the private-security guard gates, and the multi-chimneyed mansions, I marveled over the privilege poisoning such picturesque streets.
And I made an audacious assumption, which I’m glad to now see confirmed: Those entitled sacks likely work at The Home Depot.
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