They’ll talk about diversity and anti-racism, but will interpret people pointing out whiteness and straightness as an insult rather than a fact. They’ll see it as an attack, because they’re used to comfy invisibility-as-default. They’ll praise “colorblindness” as though it’s something to aspire to. “Colorblindness” as an ideal has been criticized at length by many, many smart people—let’s listen. Don’t strive to make the marginalized invisible; strive to make the privileged visible.
It’ll make people uncomfortable. Trust me. They’ll live. The least the privileged can do is be aware of it.
Notice. Again and again and again, until it drives you to frustration because it’s everywhere. Until it drives others to frustration because they’re starting to notice, too, and now they can’t stop either.
Do not allow the barrage of majority narratives to pass unremarked upon.
Do not let the privileged be the default.
Why is it that people are willing to spend $20 on a bowl of pasta with sauce that they might actually be able to replicate pretty faithfully at home, yet they balk at the notion of a white-table cloth Thai restaurant, or a tacos that cost more than $3 each? Even in a city as “cosmopolitan” as New York, restaurant openings like Tamarind Tribeca (Indian) and Lotus of Siam (Thai) always seem to elicit this knee-jerk reaction from some diners who have decided that certain countries produce food that belongs in the “cheap eats” category—and it’s not allowed out. (Side note: How often do magazine lists of “cheap eats” double as rundowns of outer-borough ethnic foods?)
Yelp, Chowhound, and other restaurant sites are littered with comments like, “$5 for dumplings?? I’ll go to Flushing, thanks!” or “When I was backpacking in India this dish cost like five cents, only an idiot would pay that much!” Yet you never see complaints about the prices at Western restaurants framed in these terms, because it’s ingrained in people’s heads that these foods are somehow “worth” more. If we’re talking foie gras or chateaubriand, fair enough. But be real: You know damn well that rigatoni sorrentino is no more expensive to produce than a plate of duck laab, so to decry a pricey version as a ripoff is disingenuous. This question of perceived value is becoming increasingly troublesome as more non-native (read: white) chefs take on “ethnic” cuisines, and suddenly it’s okay to charge $14 for shu mai because hey, the chef is ELEVATING the cuisine.