Ah, there’s nothing like the post-Christmas food coma day to talk about the dichotomy of our society here in the United States. Everybody’s off of work, nursing their hangovers or returning the crappy presents that their Aunt Matilda got them. Well, except the people in retail who have to put up with all your over-privileged complaints. Or the people who clean your houses and offices. Or the people who pick your food. Or the people who deliver your packages. You know, all the people who get paid crap and keep the economic engine that we all depend on functioning normally. Be nice to them. Their job sucks way worse than yours does.
It is amazing how different downtown Chicago is on the day after Christmas (and I’d assume the day after Thanksgiving). It’s like a ghost town. Well, most of it is. Chicago is a fairly heavily segregated city. Even in downtown, where there are no hard and fast racial borders, it is noticeable. Today, especially so. Millennium Station, which on a normal day I would guess serves 60-70% Black people is almost 100% Black today, except for the line at Starbucks. And speaking of Starbucks, there are Starbucks stores that are closed today! I didn’t think that was possible, but if you work in a skyscraper with its own economic ecosystem and that ecosystem includes a Starbucks, chances are it and most of the other stores and shops and restaurants are closed.
The finer restaurants will be open today and the early staff of mostly Hispanics are patiently waiting for their almost assuredly White manager, who is late, to arrive for the day to open up for them. I’d imagine that if they were late, the consequences would be dire. They will cook our food and serve it to us privileged as we all enjoy a welcome and deserved respite from the toils of everyday life, completely oblivious to those surrounding us that every bit deserves the respite we enjoy, but do not have the social standing to demand one. So tip them well.
Privilege isn’t anything to feel guilty about. In fact, you should enjoy it! But you should also recognize it. A little introspection can go a long way and if you believe you got to where you are by sheer force of will, you are either deceiving yourself or you’re a complete dick. The latter can likely not be corrected, when you’re a dick you’re a dick all the way from your first cigarette to your last dying day, but self-deception can be fought against and it is worth fighting to become a more socially conscious individual.