Friday, February 13, 2009

Racism in America

I had an interesting experience today, and I feel the need to share. With this wonderful economy we have now, I have found myself working a side job to help with the bills. I delivery pizza for one of the major chains (starts with a "D").

I normally do this at night, but the Manager asked if I could work lunch today, as they were slated to be busy (lots of Valentine parties at schools, etc.). Alongside those, there were the normal lunch deliveries.

On one of the deliveries, it was to an office, and it was paid with a credit card. I had to wait at the front (nearly 5 minutes) for the person to come get their food. When she came to the front, I could tell there might be trouble. She was holding her wallet, credit card and driver's license out, and also had a couple of bucks. She tossed the ID and credit card at me saying "Do you need to see these?"

"Yes Ma'am" I replied. "We're just watching out for y'all." (Yes, I devolve into Texan sue me...:D)

(I need to add that it is store and franchise company policy to see photo ID and get an impression of the credit card. Failing this, we have to keep the food.)

She snapped back and said "What did you say?"

I replied "We need to check on all credit card orders to make sure that its really you using it and not someone else. It's company policy, and it really protects you as much as it does us."

She was no longer listening, and she was mad for some reason. After I made an impression of the card, she signed it, zeroed the tip line, and took her food. No cash either. As she walked away she looked at me with a strange look.

"You have a great day!" I told her and she went back through the security door.

When I returned to the store, unhappy that I was stiffed on the tip, I got another surprise. She had put in Feedback through the Internet that I was being racist! She claimed I had said "We need to Watch you" which was totally untrue. I was stunned.

Oh, did I mention that I am a big ol' goofy white guy, and the customer was an african-american woman? I didn't because that is not the first thing I notice about someone. I don't care about skin color, I care about what they can do and what they say they can do. Her automatic assumption was that I was discriminating against her.

Racism is alive and well in the U.S., and its not coming from any of the "caucasian-Americans" I happen to know. It's coming from those that refuse to remove their victim hat and take life at its face value. Assuming ill when its not present will only make a person angry and bitter at others and the world.

I understand that there have been problems. I understand that there have been abuses. But *I* didn't do it to anyone. No one in my family was involved in the slave trade in America (we didn't even get here until starting in the late 1800s). None of my family lived in the South, and I don't know of anyone in my family that has ever said or done anything that qualifies remotely as racist. To take it out on me amounts to perpetuating the very thing they claim to want to end.

Put down the "Victim" hat. You'll be much happier in your life.


  1. Great post. You are missing the point however, that unless you have been discriminated against you really do not know what it feels like. Certainly your experience, in my opinion, qualifies as racism to a certain degree. You were only doing your job and yet you made into the victim. The is not good for anyone. Having been the recipient of racism on more than one occasion I can say that it does not feel good. And the only thing that I can say is that when a child is bitten by a dog he will avoid dogs, or will be suspect of them. This probably happened to your customer on more than one occasion. I think both of you are right, and both of you are wrong.

  2. Ah, but walk a mile in this woman's moccasins.

  3. Sounds like you responded properly in the situation. I live in Los Angeles and rarely see that sort of thing as you described. Most people here just don't care about that stuff. I will say though while on a long weekend in downtown Chicago my wife and I felt genuine hatred from black people toward us because we were white. The irony about Barack's election is instead of getting past race, it has meant we will continue to stew in it. He was elected by black people because he was black and by many white people because he was black.

  4. I order from large franchise all the time and well they never ask me for ID when I use my credit card. Obviously this woman has baggage. Maybe it means that the only assumption she could arrive to was that you were being racist since no one previously had asked her for ID. When you do your job and it's not the norm, there's a reaction. I knew the woman was black before you even posted it. Maybe it was your tone or delivery in Ya'll that got to her. Who knows? Don't worry. People overreact! It happens.

  5. Not to self-horn-toot too much, but I posted something a while back that might be worth a read, sort of on this subject. Sometimes it might be better to just let go of the past: