Many white people can’t fathom how profoundly white supremacy functions in the lives of people of color because how they are raised to see it is dramatically different.
Consider living in a society where a colonial culture of which you are not a beneficiary is the standard for judging values and behavior. Or that such a society’s dominant culture defines reality as white, and convincing said people that it is their reality, the culture of white supremacy, is portrayed as universal, applying to all humankind. Think of education, labor, sport, entertainment, law, economics, politics, war and a host of things you, if you are white, take for granted but know, with some certainty, that treatment will favor you.
Consider being part of a movement that claims to have everyone’s interests and true liberation as its prize. Now consider how that movement would make you feel as it adopted comparisons between two sets of experiences — comparing sexism to racism, alienation of whites and bigotry against people of color, or the rights of animals and the right of people to live free of racism, for example — that emphasized similarities and blotted out their unique aspects. Think of how you’d feel as that movement claimed to speak for all people, but in reality, spoke only for some; if that movement said it was “the anti-war movement,” but involved, had its meetings, was based in or reached out primarily to those beneficiaries of the colonial culture. Think of how that movement might bother you by justifying its exclusivity by implying non-colonial cultures could not relate to the dominant movement’s work, that it was degenerate (sexist/patriarchal, multilingual, etc.) or that they didn’t share the dominant’s values.
Then think of how one must fight back against the years of misleading stories and lies, only to hear from people who you thought were your comrades but can do nothing but talk about how they understand, or that they feel for you."
I have however, come to the conclusion that any idea of human agency in a call-centre is illusory. My role is simply to serve the system which I maintain a constant connection to through my hand on my workstation’s mouse with my headset completing the circuit connecting the system to the customer through me the human conduit. I relay what the system says translating its esoteric language of jargon, or else input requests on behalf of the customer again translating them into the systems preferred dialect of codes.
I can compensate for some of the systems idiosyncracies by knowing just which buttons to push and click, or where I can sometimes pull the wool over its eyes, but ultimately the parameters of my every action are determined by the system. Philosophically speaking if the system doesn’t have a word for something then whatever it is simply cannot exist.
Not many of my customers understand this dynamic. I remember one time telling a man that something couldn’t be done because of the way the system worked only to be told “yes, but people control systems.” I resisted the urge to reply with the line from Little Britain… “computer says no“, but that would really have been the truth as for many companies the system controls the entire business from orders through to production and despatch with an iron grip. Take on the system at your peril.
I have no power over the system, in fact I am part of the system, like a cyborg, a fusion between man and machine, for the duration of the time I’m plugged in the systems emotional circuitry. Nothing more."