The Power of Positive Thinking (When You’re White)


The line at the post office was 18 people deep.

I’d been waiting awhile, and was thinking about something I’d read: that in Europe, public services are for the public — meaning everyone — whereas in the US, public services are for those who can’t afford a private alternative. Hence the wait.

I looked around and noticed that no one among the patrons or the employees was a white man. At the Hanover Street post office, a half block off Wall Street, that was notable.

A white man walked in. He surveyed the line and confidently jetted past it, over to an employee pushing a wheeled bin across the floor. He put his hand on the employee’s back. He said, “Hey buddy … can you do me a favor? I just have this one thing.”

This Jen Dziura piece, “When Life Hacking Is Really White Privilege” is definitely worth reading. As a bonus, it is mostly about the money guru dude James Altucher — our friend from yesterday who runs a fund of hedge funds and said he felt poor because he had ten million dollars instead of 100 million.

A useful thought exercise, from Dziura:

You know that fun game you play at Chinese restaurants, where you add “in bed” to everybody’s fortune? You will achieve great success this year … in bed.

I have a related suggestion for Altucher’s article. Just add “if you’re white” or “because I’m white” to each generalization or anecdote in the article.

Photo: Rusty Clark

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4 Comments / Post A Comment

aetataureate (#1,310)

YEAH. Oh boy has this article lit up the ol’ Facebook conversation today.

laluchita (#2,195)

Man, I REALLY loved this article and was kind of sad that it didn’t have comments so I could lurk in them.

Nick (#1,548)

@laluchita It *does* have comments; just click on the little numbers to the right of the paragraphs.

garysixpack (#4,263)

Funny, instead of “if you’re white”, I would have used “if you look and act like a billionaire hedged fund manager”. I guess it all depends on your personal prejudices.

But I don’t think “if you’re white” works. The Duck Dynasty guy, for example, would have trouble being pushy most places. Whereas pretty much every 9- or 10-figure net worth guy I know pulls the 100-lb gorilla act, and, since I’m in the Silicon Valley, many of them are not white.

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