Inequality In Native America

1531 Words7 Pages
The role that power and inequality play in the broader picture of service work with Native America is complicated and brutal. White men came to America and inserted their power so much so that a land once populated by millions of indigenous peoples is now, a few hundred years later, colonized, gentrified, industrialized and completely taken over. In that time, native people were murdered, given diseases, forced to migrate, used as slave labor, forced into war, “Americanized” in violent boarding schools, stripped of any traditional ways of life and pushed on to tiny reservations that are concentrations of some of the deepest poverty in the world. Though this history seems like a distant past, these same themes of forced suppression and white…show more content…
My privilege was obviously revealed in that I flew to the Rez, flew to Michigan for a family fishing vacation, and flew back; I owned a full suitcase of clothes, my mom bought me new shoes just for the summer, I had a mom, I had a dad, my parents aren’t alcoholics, they love me, they don’t abuse me...I could go on forever. But I also had privilege in that I was fully accepted by whatever group I chose to be a part of. I would hope that my friends who were native didn’t just become my friend because they felt obligated to, but I can see how that could easily be the case. As a “service provider,” community members couldn’t really show a dislike for me because they had to appear grateful. As a summer long intern, team members couldn’t reject me because they were under my authority. As an adult, the kids couldn’t decide to get picked up by another van or choose someone else to walk them to the bathroom. I don’t think I fully realized the extent of this privilege while I was there, but after reading “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” a new set of privileges came to me that I didn’t realize before. Those were the privileges to not think about or not worry about things other people had to. This summer, because of the power from my race, and my position in the organization, I didn’t have to think about…show more content…
In so many of my interactions I am included, whether it be because of fear, obligation or true desire, and because of this I am able to carry a confidence in myself that others cannot. One of the many reasons structural racism is so destructive is that when someone on the opposite side of the spectrum from me experiences constant rejection, disclusion or even suppression, it has a huge impact on how they view themselves and therefore how the world views them. Multiplying this from individuals into people groups and into races, it is clear that privilege goes a long
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