September 15, 2009

HELP, HELP, I'M BEING OPPRESSED!

I was racially discriminated against today.

I got in a black cashier's line at Walmart.  She took the lady in front of me and then switched off her light, saying that I'd have to change lines because she needed to close down for a few minutes.  So I hopped over to the line next to hers, behind three other people.  The black cashier finished up with the lady she was helping, puttered around for about 30 seconds, found out that she was no longer needed to help clean up another register, and then turned her light back on and motioned for a black lady who was just walking up to the checkout area to get in her line.

Raaaaacist!  She helped a black customer instead of telling me to go ahead and get back in her line!  She took a black lady who'd just arrived to checkout instead of white me, who'd been waiting for several minutes!  I need a Beer Summit!

94 percent of African-American eighth graders reported to Harris-Britt that they'd felt discriminated against in the prior three months.

Now, I don't really think it was racial discrimination at Walmart.  I think the cashier was kinda boorish and lazy, and that she didn't care who she helped next as long as she was doing her job.  When I called her on it, she apologized as if the thought had never crossed her mind to ask me to return to her line.  She didn't do it because I was white; she did it because she was unobservant and clueless.

But it got me thinking and I remembered the above statistic from a recent Newsweek article about children's racial attitudes.  If almost every single black pre-teen says they're constantly being discriminated against, then it seems to me that, if the tables were turned and a white cashier helped a white customer over a black one, some people out there are interpreting that as racism.

I don't think it's racism.  I think it's laziness, or bad manners, or tunnel vision you get from doing the same mundane task all day long.  But I don't for one second think she pushed me out of her line because I was white.  But do black people think that?  It seems some of these pre-teens probably do.  How else could they all say they've been discriminated against recently?  A few may have truly met with bigotry, but a good number of them must just be interpreting the slightest offenses as racism.

It just got me thinking that, if you try to find slights based on skin color, you will see them.  But I'd bet that much of the "discrimination" people feel they're encountering is just a misunderstanding or a breakdown in acceptable social behavior, not racism.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:43 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 466 words, total size 3 kb.

1

Hanlon's Razor says:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

You can pretty easily substitute laziness for stupidity, I'd say.

Another favorite saying of mine is that when you're holding a hammer all of your problems look like nails.  So, if you've been told all of your life that you're a victim, you start looking for proof.

Posted by: Christa at September 15, 2009 01:06 PM (2qSbp)

2 That's a great tool, Christa!

Reading this post embodied your last point. I wanted to look for a nail after the first sentence. Then I got to the incident, initially thought that it was a nail - that it was racist - and then instantly realized, hey, wait, this could have happened for nonracial reasons.

Most of the cashiers at stores near me are black. I'm not black, and I probably had the same thing happen to me, but I never thought anything of it. I didn't take out my Victim™ hammer because I wasn't thinking of nails. I'm not white either. But when my interactions with whites go wrong, I almost never see any nails. I can only think of two or three incidents in my entire life that might have been racist. Might.

Those kids need desensitivity training. They need to be told that not everything is a nail. Don't take out that hammer unless you're certain you need it. Otherwise you look paranoid and no one but your fellow 'victims' will take you seriously anymore.

Posted by: Amritas at September 15, 2009 02:17 PM (+nV09)

3 As a half black woman speaking, I have experienced this crap from more and more people on a general basis. People are lazy and stupid. Growing up I was not taught that is was alright to cry wolf every time I did not win, get my way, or just wanted something. I had to earn certain things on merit and forgive others because people may just not know, or see. Is that an excuse? No it is not but it is life all around us everyday. If someone goes looking for a frog in the desert then they will find one.

Posted by: Reasa at September 15, 2009 02:47 PM (uKniq)

4 Sarah, you can't be discriminated against.  You are white.

Racism is a black thing, you can't possibly understand.

Kill Whitey!

Posted by: chuck at September 16, 2009 12:05 AM (bMH2g)

5

I work as a trainer at Petsmart. Sometimes when we are really busy they make me cashier because I'm not 18 and have a brain. When we open up a new register we take the next person in line. It does not matter what color they are.

I will however cop to the fact that if a customer comes into my store and they are wearing an abaya and I cannot see their face. I will not wait on them unless I am cashiering and then I have to. 99.9% of the women who comes in wearing them, I'd say there are about a half dozen maybe more per day where I work, are black. It has nothing to do with them being another color. It has everything to do with the fact that I find it absolutely offensive that after all the work that has been done by women's rights activitists that an American woman would chose to subjugate herself in this way.

Plus I just find it straight up offensive that American's choose to dress this way while we are war. I guess I'm a bigot. But I don't really care. My favorite was the 16 year old who came in wearing a hajib scarf, the TIGHTEST pair of jean's I have ever seen, and a half shirt with most of her cleavage hanging out.

Time for me to break out my Infidel t-shirt and my Dad's old hat from when he was stationed at Guantanamo Naval Air Station. I'll let you know if I get fired.

Posted by: Mare at September 16, 2009 08:51 AM (HUa8I)

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