We had our monthly staff meeting at my second-level manager's level from 10:00-11:30. It's gotten to the point now that I call for agenda items for this meeting, and then take and publish the minutes, which is fine by me. Today, I also had a part in presenting status on how the content migration is going for our organization's Drupal-managed website.
During lunchtime, I attended my first All Circles Meeting, which is a meeting of everyone who has graduated from Study Circles to "continue the dialog." Today, we watched 30 minutes of an hour-long presentation by Tim Wise about White Privilege. Here's an 8-minute (audio) clip of the 30 minutes of the 60 minutes that we watched:
"Underperforming by a white person will rarely, if ever, be attributed to their race."
15 Arabs blew up the World Trade Center and a portion of the Pentagon and you know the fallout—including the "War on Terror," of course making them terrorists, racial-profiling of Muslim-looking people in the airlines, and so on. "Timothy McVeigh, The Unibomber, Eric Rudolph and 125 white, male, and mostly Christian people have blown up abortion clinics—one hundred-twenty-nine white, male, and mostly Christian, and what have we called them? Insane? Lunatics? Deranged? Why aren't white, male, Christians profiled? It's all part of white privilege. [Admittedly, but only recently, these actions by white people are starting to be referred to as "acts of terror." But I think the point is well made.]
Use of the word "underprivileged," which is discussed in the clip above—specifically the notion that if there is an "underprivileged," then there must be an "overpriviliged." And I love that in this clip, he mentions James Baldwin, whose works I have been recently reading, and who was both African-American and gay.
I thought it was interesting, and powerful, to listen to someone outside of the constituency (i.e., a white person) doing work on the constituency's behalf, though arguably on his own behalf as well. It reminded me of the power of having straight allies helping in the civil rights fight of GLBT people. Thank you to my straight (but not narrow) friends who speak up when an opportunity presents itself. I appreciate each of you.
All in all, it was a very interesting, very educational meeting, and I plan to look more into Tim Wise's work. I may even buy his book, "White Like Me."
That lunch meeting made me late for a 2:00-3:30 meeting with my team, but we had some last minute work to do on getting a monthly publication out, so we ended up starting late anyway.
It was a productive, and actually fun, meeting, and leaving work today, I felt very good about my recent contributions to our organization. Very affirming.
On the way home, at the stop at the intersection of Gorman and Hillsborough Streets, the bus driver opened the door, and a man with worn clothing, unshaven, and an overly-stuffed backpack screamed at the driver, "Man, I need to get to Cary."
"I don't go to Cary," the driver responded.
"I need to get up to the BP station then," the man yelled.
"The one up by the fairgrounds?" the driver asked.
The driver replied, "I don't go that far, but I can let you off on Beryl, and you can walk up Beryl to the BP station. The fare's a dollar."
The man yelled back, "I don't have a dollar man. I'm a Vietnam vet. I've served my country. I need to get to Cary."
"Come on the bus, man. I'll be a good citizen and pay your fare," and the bus driver pulled a one out of his wallet and stuck it in the fare machine.
The man got off at the Beryl stop, and just walked face-in, into the little covered seating area that's at that stop. He just stood there facing in, and I watched the bus driver watch him for as long as he could see him in the rearview mirror, and then out his side window as he turned the corner (until we lost sight of him), to see if the man was ever going to start walking along the road in the direction of the BP station.
And I wondered, "WWHD"?