Privilege + BBQ sauce

Beware. Your gut reaction may be to ignore the story I'm about to tell you. Your knee jerk reaction may be to explain it away and not allow it to become a part of your reality. You may be annoyed that you took time to read this blog because it isn't "that big of a deal".

If you react that way to this story, you are probably white. You probably don't understand that this kind of treatment is a daily, hourly occurance for your neighbors of color. And you may not at understand that this story IS the reason that we need a #BlackLivesMatter movement in this country. 

Now, on to the story, as told by one of my white, thirty-something year old friends in the St. Cloud area:

The other day I was at McDonalds  with my son over lunch. A few Somali boys were ahead of me in line. One of the teenagers asked for extra barbecue sauce for his chicken nuggets and the middle-aged woman wouldn’t give him more than one. She seemed relatively annoyed. I didn’t notice anything they did that annoyed her. Anyway, when I got up to the front of the line, I ordered a hamburger and I asked for some barbecue sauce. She graciously gave me extra barbecue sauce. I walked over and gave it to the teenagers that were asking for it. It seemed rather dumb and petty to me, but the boy's reaction was priceless. He thanked me about five times and then again when they left. Small things, you know?

Small things make a big difference. In this story, my friend was intentionally aware of that he was able to get something that other people weren't. Was it because the boys were black and he was white? Was it because they were Somali and he was not? Was it because the boys were perceived to be Muslim and he was perceived as non-Muslim? Was it because he was in his 30s and they were teenagers? 

What my friend saw was the difference in treatment. What my friend did was get those boys the BBQ sauce they wanted.  What happened as a result, is that the boys felt seen and cared for. Now THAT is a way to #UniteTheCloud.

About the Author

Natalie Ringsmuth

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Natalie grew up in Central Minnesota and received her Music Education degree from Concordia College in Moorhead. She taught middle school choir in Georgia and worked in the church sector for over a decade. She now works as a legal assistant at Tripiciano Immigration Law, a trainer with the CARE (Community Anti-Racism Education) Team at SCSU (St Cloud State University), and as Founder and Director of #unitecloud, a non-profit working to reduce racial, religious, and cultural tensions in Central MN. She is a member of the Community Impact Team at United Way of Central MN and is currently running for the St Cloud District 742 school board. In her spare time (haha) she loves to spend time with her husband and 3 children.