Black Friday is the ultimate holiday for the self-satisfied, and even though they’ve tried to spread things out a bit by starting the consumer orgy on Thanksgiving Day, there’s still plenty of consumer riot porn for the rest of us to enjoy. In among this year’s crop, however, there’s a living, breathing representation of how white privilege operates. During a stampede for some discount vegetable steamers, a white woman literally snatches one out of a little black child’s hands, then assaults the kid’s mother to try and get another one (don’t ask me why either of them needs one vegetable steamer, let alone three). When the mother fights back, listen to what the assailant says:
“Why are you being so aggressive? You’re scaring me!”
The dissonance here is obvious, but what might not be so obvious is the particular mechanism of white privilege that’s at work here. Obviously, this woman felt entitled to that child’s vegetable steamer, and felt entitled to put her hands on the child’s mother, without repercussion, but her squeals of fright were a less obvious form of entitlement. She wasn’t screaming about aggression and being afraid for the benefit of the woman she was assaulting, or because she really was scared, she did it for the benefit of those around her. In much the same way that cops shout “stop resisting!” when they’re beating someone down, she’s framing her victim as the aggressor, one she’s entitled to protection from. She’s also sending that mother the message that all these people now think she’s assaulting a white woman, so she’d better stop.
If that was too ugly for you, then check out this dude at a Walmart literally diving into the Jimmy Dean and assing all the orange juice, just so he can get to whatever’s on sale at the Oscar Mayer rack: