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Collie muse

September 2014

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Collie muse

More thoughts while ill

Some time ago I wrote a posting (which I've since lost track of) where I mentioned that in restaurants where you're supposed to get your own silverware and napkins and stuff, it seemed to me that men either always sat down and waited on the women to put together a place setting for them — or only got silverware and napkins for themselves. Out of curiosity I asked several friends about that, and was somewhat puzzled at the results. After all, if the one woman I asked agreed with me, but all of the handful of men disagreed… clearly there was a disjoint in how folks were seeing things. So, since I'm that way, I just watched whenever it occurred to me.

Results: two of the men I asked have changed their behavior so they deliberately make a point (to themselves — there are no trumpet fanfares or anything) to help out at restaurants by making sure they bring over the necessary silverware and napkins for partners and friends. Funnily enough, one of the men I asked still does not lift a finger to help, despite insisting that men and women both always do that sort of thing. Also funnily, the woman I asked reported to me (which is why I'm writing this now) that she started not getting the silverware and napkins, in the hopes that her partner would help out — and his reaction was to start getting the necessary utensils only for himself. ;-j

I think there's an entire category of experience, such as benefits which are believed somehow innate to the person, which the privileged simply do not see… and if it is brought to their attention, they'll indignantly deny it — and to them, what they're saying at that moment is true. I find this almost creepy. It makes me worry about what I do that takes unfair advantage of others. It also makes me wonder: how on earth do we effectively communicate this injustice to those who benefit from it — such that they either start sharing, or pulling their own weight? Almost inevitably it's been my experience (including my own experience with this sort of privilege) that the initial reaction is something along the lines of indignant denial and/or anger. That's not really helpful for creating change… but I don't now recall what precisely happened to me to wake me up, to open my eyes, to my own privilege. I can't communicate what I don't well recall, unfortunately.

I think about the most disjointed things when I'm sick…

Originally published at Collie's Bestiary. You can comment here or there.

Comments

Well, I've not seen restaurants where you have to fetch your own silverware and napkins, but in cafeterias, the rule is that everyone gets their own. If you get other people's silverware for them, your germs get on the utensils after all.
You've never picked up more than one set of utensils and laid them on your tray, then given them to a friend who forgot? Interesting. I wonder if that's just me, then? :)
Not generally, especially if they're good silverware, unless I have a reason to suspect the friend might forget! Maybe you need a poll.