Tonight I ate dinner with “privilege.” I watched his grandchildren in their plaid collared shirts and blue blazers drink the purified water of wealth. Tonight, I watched people consume 350-dollar plates of food. Each seat was a representation of money going to a good cause, while each word that pierced my ears still a symbol of ignorance.
So I spoke at a benefit in Boston tonight. It was nice, the setting was nice, and the jazz music and candles on the tables were nice as you walked into a room that seated about 1000. The 15 different types of desserts were nice. The speeches were nice (are we seeing a pattern here). Everything was just…nice. Which is good, because it was a benefit dinner for an organization that has helped me in a lot of ways. So yeah, nice.
Except for some of the comments and/or actions that took place behind the scenes of all this apparent “niceness.” I really try hard not to look at race but when in a room full of rich white people it’s almost impossible.
So I was strategically placed next to the “million dollar donors.” Literally the people who have given a million dollars to this organization, yes that’s 6 zero’s (I had to count them up myself when I was reading the benefactor list). So while I’m sitting next to these multi-millionaires the women next to me tells me an anecdote about how weird it was for her to be in Atlanta and be “the only white women in a movie theater as she saw Chris Rock’s Good Hair.” The conversation itself made me less than comfortable and this lady was walking a fine line between me wanting and needing to tell her about herself. I wanted to tell her soooo bad WELCOME TO MY LIFE.(but I was good) the educated Jonathan stayed true tonight.
Over the course of the night I heard “oh he’s a thug” and or “oh you’re not a thug,” or “when I was looking at this thuggish looking student.” First off, why do people think it is okay to use that word as a replacement for a black person (usually referring to someone they are afraid of) and it is amazing to me when people are so oblivious to their racism that they would blatantly say offensive things about black people to a black person. UGH and this was all coming from the lady on my right. If we moved my attention to the lady that was on my left I can only compare her to Barbara Bush visiting Katrina refugees…enough said.
I was so shocked because the mission of this organization is to “combat prejudice, indifference, and misinformation” and it was ridiculous how much prejudice and misinformation I noticed in a room full of people who give all this money to combat what they are obviously struggling with themselves.
I just left the dinner a couple hours ago, so maybe when I think about it more I will create some “moral of the story theme.” But for now, I’m just irritated by ignorance (especially when the people who don’t know are trying to cure other people who don’t know. Talk about the blind leading the blind).