If you have ever had the thought, “Thank god I’m not black,” you have privilege.
I think white people often reject being told they have privilege out of a sense of a sense of guilt. Or rather, a desire to avoid being found guilty. “I’m not racist. I’m not keeping people of color down. I’m not doing anything.”
Not doing anything is the entire point.
Privilege is something bestowed upon you by society. Having privilege doesn’t make you guilty by virtue of having it. You’re not responsible for all of society’s injustices, but that’s what white people hear when they’re told they have it. Hence, the aversion.
The response is what really matters. Does knowing that life is hard for some people because of their skin color affect your behavior? Does injustice motivate you to use your privilege to make other people’s lives better?
Being black in America sucks. I’m biracial and am under no illusions that my life has been privileged because I pass for white. It’s important to listen to the stories of people who are battling against systemic oppression. It’s important to help lift up their voices.
It’s very easy to assume that life in wine country is peachy for all. Libations, perfect weather and smiles aplenty. The tasting room is put forth as a space for curiosity, hospitality and inclusion.
Reading about J’nai Gaither’s experience as a woman of color in the wine industry provides an important glimpse into the world of people who do not enjoy privilege. The perpetual condescension and micro-regressions, a thousand tiny cuts spilling blood. Though we may not see the spatter, it stains our community nonetheless.