Note: Re-posted after declining the job offer.
Last night I was watching ABC’s “What Would YOU Do?” which used Milgram-type experiments to highlight human flaws, and heroics. The episode featured an actor dressed as a conservative Muslim woman wearing a headscarf who was refused service at a bakery by another actor. Customers in the the store either ignored the confrontation, in which the bakery ‘employee’ repeatedly verbally harassed the woman and refused her service. Some good folks stepped in and intervened while others supported the ‘employee’ in his belief that only ‘Americans’ who ‘dressed like Americans’ should get service.The majority, however, virtually ignored the exchange.
I was reminded of Cornel West’s ‘Critical Race Theory.’ One of the assumptions of CRT is that racism is such an integrated aspect of American life, that the majority of Americans don’t even recognize it.
For instance, a while back I went for a job interview in amajor corporation. The two executives interviewing were either a) unprofessional, b) immature (boys tend to make stupid jokes), c) unknowingly racist, d) knowingly racist.
When they asked about work experience, I mentioned my stint as the manager of a women’s gym. Instantly the fat jokes started.”How do you get them to sign up?” asked one white-haired executive, “Put cake out front? Offer free ice-cream?”Hilarious, sir. Just hilarious. Very funny. I guess it’s lucky I’m thin.
Going down my resume, he noticed my work for Citypaper. “Do you proofread and copy edit your own work?” I answered in the affirmative, noting that the Mayor’s Office would blame me if they found something incorrect in my article. “Oh, those people don’t know how to read anyway?”
“Those people.” Is he referring to politicians and their office staff in general? Or is he referring to black people in general?
That was unclear, but later comments about Temple’s Men’s basketball team (“Are they as dumb as they look?”) were hardly convincing.
Racism that I’ve experienced or observed seems to be more a matter of rudeness and ignorance. Thank-goodness these jerks don’t have the legal power to rule my life (debatable I know).
I’ll leave you with one last rant:
McDonald’s offers Wireless Internet. Mine was down and I happened to be working at the McDonald’s at Cottman Ave. I had my laptop and a lot of paperwork (preparing for the interview above) when a group of old, white war vets walked in. One was immediately disgruntled by my presence. “What does she f*cking think this is? An office? It’s a restaurant!” He kept repeating this refrain even after I told him I was there because the place offered internet. He didn’t even glance in my direction.
Well old man, I’m sorry you didn’t save for retirement. But I don’t plan on spending my last days at McDonald’s. So yeah, I’m a ‘foreigner.’ I work hard. I study. Tough luck.