Today, I am thinking about race and class, as I often do. More
specifically, about white privilege. Actually, I have been thinking
about it pretty much since we have arrived. It is hard to stay
in a place that was colonized by westerners and where the workers
are almost exclusively people of color and to not think about race. At
least for me, it is.
The question is where to start. So I am going to tell you a series
At the resort where we are staying in Little Caymen, there was
a large diving club from the Washington DC/Virginia area. There
were about 22 people from the club.
Last night was their last dinner. Jim, the manager asked them all
to come into the dining room and he brought out some of the staff
to introduce them by name. Except for Ronal from Honduras, they
were all from Jamaica and had come to Little Cayman on permits
“This is Junior and Chubby and Carmen. Chef Tucker and Louie
and Denvil,” he said. “These are a few of the people who work behind the scenes
to make your stay pleasant.”
Everyone applauded and then went back to their tables. I
heard one person say, “So that’s who that is.”
My sister wondered if the manager had given them the names of some
of the staff to encourage tipping, even though that is supposedly
included in the bill.
I said I didn’t know. But I thought it was backwards
to learn the names and positions of people at the end of a stay
instead of at the beginning. Especially since the staff is really
not behind the scene. They are an integral part of the scene. Bringing
food to the tables, removing dishes, sweeping and cleaning, making
things beautiful. They seem to be in constant motion.
(Kim: So all men are
created equal. Where did that come from? How rarely do we operate
on that premise.
we feel better when we put down others? Do animals replicate
this crazy behavior?
this really come down to the relationship between the haves
and haves nots?)
the staff’s visibility, that we all interact
with them, I wondered why it is necessary for the manager
Like when you enter the dining room and Junior says, “Good
evening, I’m Junior. What is your room number? “Why
can’t someone say, “Hi, I’m Name
of Diver from DC? How are you this evening?”
But from my observations this week, that rarely happened.
And I want to know why.
What is it that prevents someone from introducing themselves?
Are they shy?
Or do they think it is inappropriate for some reason?
Or do they not want to extend themselves if they are
Or do they not see the person who is making their vacation
I truly want to know the answers. Because I want to know
how things can be different.
Okay so I’m being judgmental. That’s fine.
What does it mean to be judgmental except to think
for behavior that might elevate our exchanges?
Saturday, March 18, 2006