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What is “privilege”

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

Have you ever used your initials on a resume? Have you ever had to change your diction and vernacular when in an interview? Have you reconsidered your natural hairstyle in an attempt to fit in your workplace? If not then, this is PRIVILEGE. I recall being in middle school and I had braids with beads and Mr. Gardinier made reference to “the Bo Derek” look. I mentioned this to my mom and she said, “when you go back to school tomorrow tell him you have an ancestral look“. Well I did and Mr. Gardinier made me stand in the corner! You can’t make this stuff up.

I have often wondered why I didn’t give my daughter a more palatable “conforming” name. She had issues getting a job at a particular “elite” employer in my city. Part of their requirements were to be a nursing student and to have decent grades. She fit the bill for both; junior in a 4 year degree program and on the dean’s list. But why was it so difficult for her to get at least an interview? Her very astute mother told her to change her name to her initials and last name. Within 2 weeks she had been called for 5 interviews. No bs. 5 interviews! I guess Karen and Kevin weren’t feeling that BIG BOLD name. But she got the job, passed her nursing boards. It took another nurse, white seasoned and confident, to call this employer out on their nonsense. Stellar attendance, unquestionable work ethic, and passed her boards on the first try. BUT no interview? There are nursing assistants who failed their boards that are still working there. Part of the deal is to be hired and pass your boards within 2 tries and get the job. But not this brown girl! So why did it take for someone WHITE to call them out? Why did it take subterfuge to even get the initial interview?


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