1 The Power of Positive Thinking (When You're White) | The Billfold

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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