Uncomfortable Conversations

I work at a call centre while I’m going to school and one day a couple of us were sitting together having lunch and the topic of parents and their dated beliefs came up. Naturally as the only person of color I braced my self for the impending “racist parent” story. Right on cue, one guy begins to explain to us in detail how much his father cannot stand black people. How his father refers to us as “niggers” and how he thinks slavery shouldn’t have ended. And I’m sitting here in the midst of all these people unsure about what to even do. So I calmly said to him ” if you are so confident and excited to tell everyone how much of a hateful racist the person that raised you is, then what exactly are you trying to tell us about yourself?” Of course he got all defensive and of course everyone else jumped to his rescue.
Interestingly no one said anything while he was uttering the phrase ‘nigger’ a minute ago.

If you have a story, please submit it here or send it to us by email.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Email this to someone

“I’m not black”

I worked in a white male dominated company. I am the only visible minority. A BLACK WOMAN. The VP of the company would always say things to me like “naw what I’m sayin” , “word” and “yo” to me with all these unnessacary hand gestures like he was throwing up gang signs. He would always ask me about rap music and Jay Z even after I told him that I don’t listen to rap music because most of it is degrading. One day 2 other coworkers were by my desk having a conversation with each other and one coworker goes to the other one “You should heat my car up” to which he replied “Whatever you say massa” She bust into a fit of annoying laughter and says “what did you say” So he felt the need to repeat himself… Back to my VP. He asked me to explain what Heritage Day was so I was explaining it to him and what it meant. He said “what if they run out of black people” to which I replied I don’t think there will be a shortage of black people in the world and who knows maybe one day you’ll be celebrating * insert my name* day. His reply was “You’re not even black”………

If you have a story, please submit it here or send it to us by email.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Email this to someone

Unaccountable Supervisor

The racism in my workplace is often subtle and almost always overlooked, as the person in question is a supervisor, is well-trained in this particular business, and we do not have an HR department. Needless to say, this makes for an uncomfortable work environment. Some subtle (and not-so-subtle) examples: A new employee with a non-Eurocentric name was met with the question, “What kind of a name is ‘A-choo’ [quite clearly mispronounced for comic effect]?!” This supervisor later announced gleefully to a client, “I can never get their names right. [Name withheld], for instance, I keep calling him ‘Baboon’!”, followed by something to the effect of, “It’s okay, I can say that because he no longer works here.” His name did not even begin with ‘B’. He wasn’t afforded the slightest courtesy of effort when addressed.Often this supervisor referred to brown skinned visitors as Pakistanis. When obvious clues regarding their true ethnicity were pointed out, such as noting the language they spoke, she would roll her eyes with a “Whatever!”.

Once a black man, a member of an important client group, dropped by to ask about moving his business to our company. This supervisor presumptuously and impatiently told him that the parking was for clients only and that he would have to move. She didn’t ask him his name or his business’s name. He was just rudely told to move. I explained who he was as he walked out the door. To this she panicked and ran outside to apologize lest she lose the company his money. She told a louder, more boisterous employee he “acts black”.

Needless to say, calling out a defensive superior on these double standards can put one in an uncomfortable, potentially job-jeopardizing position. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t always spoken up when it happens, for this reason. When I do question my supervisor’s comments, it is generally met with hostility. So be it.

If you have a story, please submit it here or send it to us by email.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Email this to someone