Racism I Have ExperiencedBy Richard Myers
The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness of what racism is and means andhow it is expressed in our world. This is a contribution of one of our Villagers reflecting on her personal experiences in her life
Racism I Have Experienced
When a White person says to me, "You're mixed, aren't you?” I say "It would be difficult to find a Black person in the United States who is not mixed. The question is, 'How far back or how close in the lineage did it take place?"
Then they have said to me, "You're a teacher aren't you" and I say, yes, how did you know? and they say, "by the way you talk" and I say, “I’ve only been a teacher for five years but I've always talked this way. My whole family talks this way!” My correspondent stands there, at a loss for words.
In Marion, Indiana in the year 1959 when I was 20 years old, it was said to me, "You're not from around here, are you?" I said, no, that I was from the Midwest, why do you ask? He said, “If you were from around here, you would never have applied for this job."
I said, "I applied for this job because I know I am qualified to do it. I'm sure you’re hiring me would increase your business. People would come just to see your Colored dining room hostess. I'd be a novelty, and when they saw my professionalism, word would spread. Of course if things went the other way, and I lost you business, I wouldn’t expect you to keep me.”
He said, “I’m sure you would give excellent service which everyone appreciates, but if I hired you, not only would I have to restaff the dining room, I'd have to restaff the entire hotel. These people would not work with you.”
I confidently and quietly said, "Well, I can’t fight you there." I smiled and thanked him for his honesty, and left.
Another frequent comment made to me by White people is, “You're not like them, you’re different." and I say, " Like whom?" and they say, "You know - them!" I say "No, I don't know, tell me!”
The conversation quickly changes with neither of us pursuing it further.
The White person realizes that this Black person does not feel complimented by the distinguishment shown her, from others in her race, as it places them in a bad light of unacceptability, and avoidance.
I submit this for the purpose of discussion, in particular for those of us who are unaware of some of the racism subtleties.