Moments of Privilege

By Tatyana Fertelmeyster - 04.23.2012

I am in Paradise. I was officially welcomed to Paradise as soon as I got off my plane in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Actually, I am in a double Paradise considering that I am staying at a beautiful beach resort.

In a day or so this place will get busy with my colleagues who are getting together for the inaugural conference of the International Society for Diversity and Inclusion Professionals. And for a few days we will have passionate conversations about very important topics and rush to swimming pools at the end of the day to cool off and enjoy.

Swimming pools.

There is one right next to my building. I went there as soon as I dropped my bags in the room. I asked for a towel and got an uncomfortable explanation from a friendly young man at the counter that towels were only for red-level guests.

Red-level guests? It took a moment to compute.

A few minutes prior when I was checking in at the front desk a clerk put a blue bracelet on my wrist. It looks like something you get at the hospital or at the amusement park. This bracelet means that I am a guest at the resort. It means that I belong. I had no problem being marked as a part of the in group.

Now – here I am ready to jump into this enticingly turquoise water and being told that towels that are rightfully mine are at the main pool and that walking there along the beach will take me no time.

I am not “us” anymore.  I am now “them” or at least not “us enough”.

That does not feel right. I am about to get all righteous about it but my logical brain starts its boring reasoning with me. Read more »