I think it’s relevant we all take some time to understand “privileged and prejudiced.”
An experience I had at work should help a few people out that would rather assume these experiences do not exist or others who would rather call someone racist. There is a difference, it can be a real close call but I never rush to assume its racism first.
For example, I am mind blown how customers, without any consequences, can casually walk into a place of business & say “I’m tired of dealing with a bunch of niggers” or “No, not you! I don’t want help from any niggers today!” Or look you dead in the face and say “You don’t deserve to be in this (management) position!” Just for simply being who you are. All this is fine with me, I mean; it doesn’t really affect how I feel about myself or change my character I’m an adult, aware of what I may have to face every day. I don’t need sympathy or feel the need to raise hell, record them and get them fired from their jobs because they aimed to attack and express their feelings in public. It’s too common for me to be surprised by or let anger me to the point I get out of character.
What does bother me is although my staff knows me and have never witnessed me speak or act this way for any reason, they assume my reaction will lead to “letting my ghetto side out.”
I heard “Oh hell no! Excuse my language but he would’ve seen a real nigger today.” And “Uh oh here comes the hood!” They immediately started loud and unprofessional conversations they think I wanted to hear or would consider humorous instead of offensive. Yet, anytime a similar situation occurs I choose to look at these customers and associates as individuals. I don’t categorize or label them, make any preconceived notion or anything. Most days, I just think customers are really just having a bad day, no matter how much hate I’ve seen in their eyes.
But if I were to be or do what’s always expected of my kind, just that one time, it would easily define me. How…ironic. To me, that moment should’ve been about a man with a poor choice of words and a bad temper. Or he could’ve been showing his true colors, I’m not sure. But it wasn’t. And somehow I was the one thrown into this stereotype instead of him. So anytime this occurs all that sticks in my mind, no matter who I am or what I stand for, to all of “them” I am exactly who those customers want me to be.
What’s even more interesting is because the customer didn’t get the reaction out of me that he wanted, he reported it. The company had to answer to their CEO and after hearing the entire story they decided a verbal warning was necessary. They also thought it made more sense to ask me “NauBriana, what could you have done to prevent that from happening?”
This is just one example of the luxuries of being privileged, and there are plenty more to come.