People tend to say ignorant things sometimes.  I had a situation a few weeks ago that surprised me.

I had someone tell me that they were surprised my husband is black because I don’t seem like the “type” to be married to or to date a black guy.

I was so furiously annoyed on so many levels that I couldn’t even talk about it.  At all.  To anyone.  The good thing is that I do know myself well enough to know that if I am that mad, I need to step back and think about things before actually speaking my mind about it.

There have been times over the years when my husband and I have faced racism.  It hasn’t happened often, but the times that it has happened have been really weird and uncomfortable.  I am glad to have had some of these experiences because I think it has helped prepare me to parent Mea, but the fact that any of these types of situations or conversations exist in our society today just annoys me to no end.

Many years ago when I did my brief stint working at the fabric store, I had one of these situations.

With my boss.

I had gotten along with this woman fine, she was a little strange, but then again, I can be too.  When I started the job, she started soon after I did.  The store was a disaster.  The previous manager was not qualified to work there and it took months and lots of hard work to straighten the store out.  Planograms and price changes had not been done in months.  Boxes and boxes of merchandise was still in boxes that had not been put out on the floor.  Including seasonal stuff.  We found boxes full of Easter decorations in September.

We got things mostly straightened around.  We got through the Christmas season, which was much busier than I expected.

Her husband came into the store a lot.  Kind of a hillbilly.  They had relocated so that she could take this job, she put him on payroll, and he would sometimes come in and help us move large fixtures.

My husband did not come to the store.  It was across town from where we live, and pretty far from where he worked.  There was no reason for him to come in.

I had been in the process of interviewing and offers at my last job, I came in for my one night a week to close, and Pat pulled me aside to tell me about an issue with a customer she had earlier in the day.

I don’t recall what the issue was with the customer, but I do remember how the customer was described.  It is not something that I would even feel comfortable typing.  Needless to say, the customer was a black woman, and she had her bi-racial grandchildren with her.

As if it wasn’t enough for her to describe this woman in this way, she went on and on about how black people were so horrible, and that she was sure they were stealing, and the half-breed grandchildren didn’t stand a chance.

I was speechless.

This was one of those angry moments when I couldn’t say anything.  The words were scrambling in my head, I was trying to retain what she said, while at the same time holding myself back from lashing out and doing something that I shouldn’t do.

I would not stoop to her level by reacting.

I called the District Manager a few days later to give my notice, and to tell him about this conversation.  She had actually on the same day said something about him as well.  He is Jewish.  Obviously, her hatred and stupidity covered many different people across the spectrum.

After this happened, so many things clicked in my mind about this woman.  We had a college student who worked for us who was black, she was not given many hours, she was put on verbal warnings for things that other employees often got by with, she was often given assignments that were full of suck.  I thought that she just didn’t like her.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that she didn’t like her because of her skin color.

Truthfully, unless someone says something to me directly, or I overhear someone say something, it doesn’t even occur to me that my family is different.  We are just us.  Me, the kids, my husband.  The Monkey Soup’s.

This is how it should be.






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