it amazes me what people will say to your face. i mean honestly, people will say THE most ignorant, simple, uncouth, offensive things. to your face. whew.
my job is pretty boring. working at a bank isn't exciting at all. especially on thursdays. my coworkers and i make up for it sufficiently by talking amongst ourselves when there are no customers in the building. i have however, resigned myself from socializing with certain people from now on. all because of what people have the nerve to say to my face, like i won't punch them in theirs. (well i won't, but i will think really hard about it and give them a look that informs them of just that).
one of my coworkers, a 40-something indian lady, is selling her house. it's a nice house too, containing all the perks and amenities that any picket-fenced family with 2.5 kids would love. fortunately for her , these are exactly the kinds of families that have been looking at it. everyday she comes in with more 'guess who looked at my house today' stories. she was particularly excited to share this one today though. and especially excited to share it with me.
"you should have seen the people that came yesterday to look at my house. they were sooo nice. i think they're going to get it."
i didn't really feel like listening to yet another tale, but i gave a polite "really? that's good."
i hate it when people of other races try to tell you something about a black person, and when they get to the word 'black', their voice drops a few volume levels and their eyes travel anywhere but to yours, as if saying the word 'black' to describe someone is either shameful or racist.
we'll, she did that.
"it was a black woman . but she was soooo beautiful. she was tall and thin and she was dressed sooo nice and her kids were impeccably clean. a boy and a girl. the girl was so pretty too!"
why she was so excited to share this with me, i have no clue. i guess i was supposed to be happy at her discovery of a pretty black woman. when she said 'but', as in, 'in spite of', her blackness, my chest tightened. felt a smart comment coming on...but i held it in. maybe she didn't mean it like that. her next statement however, told me that her 'but' really did mean 'in spite of''.
"oh lady, she was so pretty. and she was so00 well-spoken. she was a black woman. but she spoke soooo professionally and intelligently, her children were behaving so good too."
she beamed at me as if we had somehow just connected. that 'it's okay we can be sistas now.' look. just kept looking at me for approval of her newfound 'common ground' with me.
"what do you mean she was a black woman but she spoke so well? but she was pretty. but she can afford nice clothes. but her daughter and son were properly bathed. what does that mean?" i was calm, even offered a half smile and a light tone.
her eyes grew so big, you would have thought a new nose had just up and sprouted on my face. and then she started stuttering.
"n-n-n-no, i mean, you know. i just, i just meant she's pretty that's all. "
"then why didn't you say that? why'd you have to explain that she was black, and that she still managed to be all those positive things?"
"i-i-i...i just thought you would want to know that there are other women like you out here."
riiight. cause a pretty, intelligent black woman is an anomaly.
i was done. i quietly turned my head and went back to my previously drama free corner of our bank. i didn't say anything to her the rest of the day, but still she scurried around, trying to prove to me that she really didn't mean that 'slip-up'.
my question is this: what do you think when people say things like that? are we seriously becoming that uncivilized and disregarded that it's actually a compliment for someone to say your kids are clean and you can speak english properly? why are we allowing ourselves to be the people that nothing good is expected of?
in retrospect, i wish i had said more to her. i was just so angry and i didn't want to lose my job over her ignorance. but when are we going to step up? i mean, really step up. and not be okay with our people being the ones everyone learns how not to be from. i mean, really. it's kinda sad.
it's very disappointing and disheartening to hear the true feelings of someone you know 'slip out' about you. makes you wonder what people are really thinking, huh?