The Conversation

Home
11/13/05
11/14/05
11/15/05
11/16/05
11/17/05
11/18/05
11/19/05
11/20/05
11/21/05
11/22/05
11/23/05
11/24/05
11/25/05
11/26/05
11/27/05
11/28/05
11/29/05
11/30/05
12/01/05
12/02/05
12/03/05
12/04/05
12/05/05
12/06/05
12/07/05
12/08/05
12/09/05
12/10/05
12/11/05
12/12/05
12/13/05
12/14/05
12/15/05
12/16/05
12/17/05
12/18/05
12/19/05
12/20/05
12/21/05
12/22/05
12/23/05
12/24/05
12/25/05
12/26/05
12/27/05
12/28/05
12/29/05
12/30/05
12/31/05
1/1/06
1/2/06
1/3/06
1/4/06
1/5/06
1/6/06
1/7/06
1/8/06
1/9/06
1/10/06
1/11/06
1/12/06
1/13/06
1/14/06
1/15/06
1/16/06
1/17/06
1/18/06
1/19/06
1/19/06
1/20/06
1/21/06
1/22/06
1/23/06
1/24/06
1/25/06
1/26/06
1/27/06
1/28/06
1/29/06
1/30/06
1/31/06
2/1/06
2/2/06
2/3/06
2/4/06
2/5/06
2/6/06
2/7/06
2/8/06
2/9/06
2/10/06
2/11/06
2/12/06
2/13/06
2/14/06
2/15/06
2/16/06
2/17/06
2/18/06
2/19/06
2/20/06
2/21/06
2/22/06
2/23/06
2/24/06
2/25/06
2/26/06
2/27/06
2/28/06
3/1/06
3/2/06
3/3/06
3/4/06
3/5/06
3/6/06
3/7/06
3/8/06
3/9/06
3/10/06
3/11/06
3/12/06
3/13/06
3/14/06
3/15/06
3/16/06
3/17/06
3/18/06
3/19/06
3/20/06
3/21/06
3/22/06
3/23/06
3/24/06
3/25/06
3/26/06
3/27/06
3/28/06
3/29/06
3/30/06
5/19/06
5/20/06
5/21/06
5/22/06
5/23/06
5/24/06
5/25/06
5/26/06
5/27/06
5/28/06
5/29/06
5/30/06
5/31/06
6/1/06
6/2/06
6/3/06
6/12/06
6/13/06
7/3/06
7/4/06
7/5/06
7/6/06
7/7/06
7/8/06
7/9/06
7/10/06
7/11/06
7/14/06
7/15/06
7/16/06
7/17/06
7/23/06
Haves and Haves Nots

Dear Kim:

Today, I am thinking about race and class, as I often do. More specifically, about white privilege. Actually, I have been thinking about it pretty much since we have arrived. It is hard to stay in a place that was colonized by westerners and where the workers are almost exclusively people of color and to not think about race. At least for me, it is.

The question is where to start. So I am going to tell you a series of anecdotes.

At the resort where we are staying in Little Caymen, there was a large diving club from the Washington DC/Virginia area. There were about 22 people from the club.

Last night was their last dinner. Jim, the manager asked them all to come into the dining room and he brought out some of the staff to introduce them by name. Except for Ronal from Honduras, they were all from Jamaica and had come to Little Cayman on permits for work.

“This is Junior and Chubby and Carmen. Chef Tucker and Louie and Denvil,” he said. “These are a few of the people who work behind the scenes to make your stay pleasant.”

Everyone applauded and then went back to their tables. I heard one person say, “So that’s who that is.”

My sister wondered if the manager had given them the names of some of the staff to encourage tipping, even though that is supposedly included in the bill.

I said I didn’t know. But I thought it was backwards to learn the names and positions of people at the end of a stay instead of at the beginning. Especially since the staff is really not behind the scene. They are an integral part of the scene. Bringing food to the tables, removing dishes, sweeping and cleaning, making things beautiful. They seem to be in constant motion.

(Kim: So all men are created equal. Where did that come from? How rarely do we operate on that premise.

Do we feel better when we put down others? Do animals replicate this crazy behavior?

Does this really come down to the relationship between the haves and haves nots?)

Given the staff’s visibility, that we all interact with them, I wondered why it is necessary for the manager to do the introducing

Like when you enter the dining room and Junior says, “Good evening, I’m Junior. What is your room number? “Why can’t someone say, “Hi, I’m Name of Diver from DC? How are you this evening?”

But from my observations this week, that rarely happened. And I want to know why.

Why?

What is it that prevents someone from introducing themselves?

Are they shy?

Or do they think it is inappropriate for some reason?

Or do they not want to extend themselves if they are on vacation?

Or do they not see the person who is making their vacation possible?

I truly want to know the answers. Because I want to know how things can be different.

Okay so I’m being judgmental. That’s fine. What does it mean to be judgmental except to think about standards for behavior that might elevate our exchanges?

Later,

Joan

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Next