I’ve spent the last few weekends traveling with my husband. We have been chasing one of the kids around the country staying in various cities, eating at questionable restaurants, and flying in airplanes full of sick kids, and as it turns out “emotional support dogs.” Sports parents get it, and as this is his last year of college, we gleefully back suitcases week in and week out to drive and fly through the country to watch him play football. This is week number 4 of travel, and as I begin to suffer from a bit a travel fatigue, I noticed that my packing skills were also greatly lacking. This morning when I went to get in the shower, I discovered that I didn’t bring my shampoo. With a deep sigh of regret (because I take hair very seriously) I looked over to the sink and felt a sense of relief that Shampoo and Conditioner were provided in this hotel room, as they have been in almost every hotel room.
As I gathered up my showering supplies, I grabbed the shampoo, hoped into the shower and went about my day not giving any of it a second thought.
That is white privilege.
The hair products that work for my hair are the default item in every hotel room in America. I didn’t do anything to make that happen, these products have been put in hotel rooms for decades before I was born. I didn’t NOT do anything that made it happen either. I just reserved my room, showed up with a poorly packed suitcase, and then grabbed the shampoo off the sink and showered.
Sometimes white privilege isn’t about highly volatile arguments of race, although there may be a time for that conversation as well, sometimes it’s just as simple as me grabbing the shampoo of the hotel sink and never for a second wondering if it’s for white people hair. I never wonder because I know that it just is.
Next week before we travel, I’m going to be more careful about packing my bag because honestly, I really didn’t care for how the shampoo and conditioner smelled. Next week I will bring my own products, but if I forget, I know that on that hotel sink will be fully stocked with usable hair products for me.
White privilege…sometimes it’s just simple.