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HANDOUT 6: Privilege Scenario 4

By Jessica York, a Black Unitarian Universalist and Youth Programs Director at the UUA.

CAST

  • Lexie, a White bookstore manager. She is one of three manager/trainers in the company. She has decades of sales experience, though she has only been in books for three years. She currently manages a small mall bookstore that is part of a chain.
  • Donna, a White district manager for the bookstore chain. She has been in this position for less than a year. Previously, she managed a small mall bookstore location.
  • Rachel, a Black bookstore manager. She is one of three manager/trainers in the company. She has been in retail bookstore management for 10 years. She has managed small mall locations and a superstore for this company.

SCENARIO

Rachel picks up the phone and makes a call. Lexie answers.

Rachel: Hi, Lexie. How is everything?

Lexie (sighs): Too much work and too little time, as always.

Rachel: Yeah, I know. Do you have time to talk about our upcoming training in Macon? We should decide who is going to train the manager and who will train the employees.

Lexie: Can I call you back later? Donna, our district manager, is in the store right now.

Rachel: Sure, I'll be at the store until closing. Talk to you later.

Three hours later, Lexie picks up the phone and makes a call. Rachel answers.

Lexie: Hi, Rachel. Sorry it took so long for me to call back. Donna just left.

Rachel: Wow. That was a long visit. I didn't know you were due for a store visit. Wasn't she just out there last week?

Lexie: Yes. She likes to hang out here. I don't know why. I think she thinks we're buddies or something. She hardly spends any time on the floor—she just sits back in the office, smoking and cracking "You might be a redneck if . . ." jokes that I don't even find funny. She might identify as a redneck, but I don't.

Rachel: So, how long was she there?

Lexie: Almost all day. It makes it hard to get work done, though I did get a free lunch out of it.

Rachel: Really? She never takes me out to lunch.

Lexie: Well, she wanted to get out of the store to tell me about two new superstores that are opening in our area. They need managers, and she wanted to know if I was interested. Are you applying?

Rachel: I didn't know there were two new stores opening.

Lexie: Yeah, they haven't announced them yet. Donna wanted to give me the jump. I put in my bid for Clearwater. It's in a new mall that is a lot closer to my house than where I am now. And, of course, it's a superstore, so the pay will be much better. She says I can stay on as a training store manager, too. You should bid for the other store.

Rachel: I might do that, Lexie. Thanks for telling me. I'm going to call Donna and ask about it.

SCENARIO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What systems of privilege and discrimination are operating in this scenario?

2. Who has privilege? Why does that person have privilege? How did they use their privilege in this scenario?

3. What real effect does privilege have on the people in this scenario, even if the privilege is not sought? Have you ever had an experience where you were the beneficiary of privilege you did not seek?

4. What role did the "redneck" jokes play in this scenario?

5. How could Lexie have responded to this situation in a way that helped name, reframe, and dismantle systems of privilege and oppression?

6. What Unitarian Universalist values and Principles are helpful in responding to situations like this?

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Monday, July 23, 2012.

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