Somebody isn’t having a very merry Christmas:
The line at the post office was 18 people deep.
I’d been waiting awhile, and was thinking about something I’d read: that in Europe, public services are for the public — meaning everyone — whereas in the US, public services are for those who can’t afford a private alternative. Hence the wait.
I looked around and noticed that no one among the patrons or the employees was a white man. At the Hanover Street post office, a half block off Wall Street, that was notable.
A white man walked in. He surveyed the line and confidently jetted past it, over to an employee pushing a wheeled bin across the floor. He put his hand on the employee’s back. He said, “Hey buddy … can you do me a favor? I just have this one thing.”
I also just have this one thing, I thought. And, this line is for people who have one or more things, douchebag. And, you have no right to ask a “favor” that dicks over 18 people uninvolved in granting the “favor.”
Fortunately, the mystified employee — who was not white — sent him to the back of the line. I gloated.
So a jerk tries to cut in line, gets called on it, goes and stands in line and… this is an indictment of white people.
Look, patiently queuing up began as near as I can tell in Anglo-Saxon cultures. Go anywhere in the Third World, and instead of orderly queues, you see masses of people crowding around whatever the wait is for. It’s a cultural thing — witness how 18 people of every color were lined up patiently in this story. Witness also how a person-of-color-other-than-pinkish is the one who restored order to the queue. Race isn’t involved here. What’s remarkable is the adaptability of what was formerly just an Anglo-Saxon social norm to a continent-spanning polyglot republic.
The author, jendziura, goes on to quote a white jerk trying to teach other people (presumably of any color) how also to be jerks. What’s remarkable isn’t the jerk’s jerkiness, but how someone like jendziura, in the process of decrying all this white privilege, is in fact applying social norms originally created by some of the pastiest white people to have ever lived.
And that’s a good thing. Anglo-Saxon social norms have worked for pretty much anybody who’s ever adopted them, no matter what their skin color or religion. Those rules evolved organically from a culture where people were mistrustful of authority but trusting of their neighbors. Those two things right there are big parts of what we like to consider being civilized. Waiting your turn in line is the recognition that while I have the right to get what I want, my neighbors have the equal right to do the same thing. “First come, first serve” is the only real egalitarianism.
I think on some level jendziura gets that. But the meaning is lost in the fog of the racial prism through which she chooses to view things.