Tuesday, July 11, 2017

When They Tell You By Not Telling You Because They Don't Want To Tell You What You Probably Don't Need To Be Told

I received permission to screenshot this and post it here:

 click to enlarge

I'm reminded of a great line (which I'll paraphrase) from every math teacher's favorite movie, Stand and Deliver: "There are two kinds of racism, Mr. Escalante--singling people out because of their race, and not singling people out because of their race."  The line was spoken by Pearson, played by Rif Hutton.


Ellen K said...

I'm so tired of having to tiptoe around the concept of race.
I truly try to treat everyone fairly and I honestly try to avoid singling out students.
So what would you do in this situation. My husband and I went to buy a computer Tuesday night. On our way back, around 8:45, we decided just to stop at Sprouts and get a sandwich. Their sandwiches are good and cheap. So we went in and four young men were actively cleaning up behind the deli counter. I asked if it was too late to order. One young man asked " Is it nine yet?" I said no and he indicated I should fill out an order form. I did that promptly and then waited as all four of them actively avoided taking the order for 15 minutes. I didn't do any of the usual impatient moves-fidgeting, tapping, clearing my throat loudly-I just stood there with the order for the sandwiches held out in my hand. At two minutes until nine, one young man takes my order and then goes back to cleaning some equipment. My husband and I wander around the area waiting and finally at about ten after nine, one sandwich comes out and we are told they can't make the other one. I've worked in sales and in retail and I know this isn't the way you engage a customer. We left.

The next morning, I went online to the Sprouts website and explained the situation, trying to emphasize that maybe they were inexperienced and needed more training. Then the manager called me to ask a few questions. "When did you come in again?" upon which I told him before nine. "We keep our deli open until we close at ten." Then he asked "who was it that took your order?" I told him there were four young men behind the deli counter and I didn't know their names. "Four? There were four back there? There's only supposed to be two max." The manager then offered me a coupon for some free stuff, which I appreciated. But here's the deal, as a middle aged white woman, was I being deliberately ignored by the four young black men behind the counter? I never said this to the manager because it's not something I could prove one way or another, but actively avoiding taking an order from someone, lying about the closing time, refusing to make my order as ordered-if I was a woman of color and the four teens behind the deli counter were white-would that not be racism? Why is bad behavior excused simply because someone is of a different race? Indeed, why is any crime mitigated for reasons of race?

Darren said...

Race shouldn't be a factor at all. I don't even like the idea of hate crimes. You either commit a crime against someone or you don't.

Ellen K said...

Exactly. So either the young men were doing their jobs or they were not. So why was I actually fearful of saying the young men who avoided my order at the deli were all black? Indeed in the complaint I made to Sprouts I never mentioned race-honestly thinking it was more of an age thing. But when newscasters refuse-as happened recently in an assault on a deaf woman at a bus stop-to describe the assailant as a young black male are we not avoiding the issue? DFW has suffered from a series of shootings of young men of all colors largely by groups of young black males. And yet the community they come from blame the police for being wary of young black males. I'm not under the illusion that this is the only group involved in crimes, but data shows there's good cause for police and citizens to be wary. I don't like feeling this way, but honestly if I am alone at night in a car, I won't be stopping to help someone stuck at the side of the road.