Recently, I’ve encountered situations that were just …well weird. Not quite sure if it is an issue yet. However, here are two situations that got me thinking…
I was at work one day when one of the company trainers stated we would be having a meeting. So, about 8 of us followed her to the conference room. She was a nice lady, African American, smart, and chic.
We were going to be given a “refresher” course on some system applications.
(Just for a mental picture there were about 5 out of 8 people in the class who were African American, 2 were Hispanic, and 1 was Indian) As, all of us sat down and got comfortable in our chairs. My boss/ trainer stated: “Man, I’m so tired “( It was around 7 p.m.) while she yawned. She asked us if it was okay if she took off her heels ( You know the kinda question someone asks, but is not really looking for your approval). I didn’t see a big deal she was after all “off the clock.”
Nonetheless, we start going over the material. As always, there is someone in the class who is going to tell jokes, and stories. To keep us off track, and the trainer didn’t seem to mind she would give her two cents as well. Everyone in the room was pretty laid back.
Here is where the professional line of conduct, for me was breached. She started to say she had gas and wanted to burp, and a girl in the class was like: “Let it out you’ll feel better.” I was disgusted, revolted, but pretended to not hear and continued to just read my applications. All of the sudden she let out a burp, and another, and another. She didn’t go out in the hallway. She could have easily said: ” Excuse me.” And leave the room for five minutes. It really got me thinking , was this something that she honestly couldn’t control? Would she have done this with a room full of Caucasians? I somehow got the feeling that because it was a room full of prodominantly African Americans she didn’t have to uphold all her professional responsibilities. I might be leaping here, but it honestly felt that way. Before that meeting I had high respect for that woman. Afterwards, I don’t know what to say…
Scenario 2- I bought some shoes at ALDO which did not fit right so I went to the store to return them. I walked in the store and the girl ( Again, African American) didn’t acknowledge that I had entered. Even though the bell is loud as ever… I didn’t pay any attention to that though. As I got closer to the counter I saw that she had her lunch spread out, and that she was on the phone. The clerk didn’t even give me a nod. She continued to finish her conversation as if no one was there. After around five minutes. She got off the phone and said: “Hey girl, sorry about that.” Keep in mind, I don’t know who the h* this woman is, but I was just in a hurry to get out. So I smiled and nodded as she helped me with the return. While I was there another customer came in this time (Caucasian), and what does the clerk do?
She greeted the customer within a matter of seconds: “I’ll be right with you ma’am.”
” Where was my greeting?” I thought. I left the counter with a look of dismay. As I walked away I heard her rustling. I turned around and sure enough she was cleaning the counter and putting her lunch under the counter. I was shocked. Where was this professionalism when I walked in? Was my business not just as important as the second customer?
More and more I notice this kind of behavior, and I’d like to know what people out there think. Have you encountered the same kind of issue? If so, how do you feel afterwards? I’d really like to know why some African Americans, or even other minorities for that matter, feel they can give better service to the “White Man?” I hate to be using these labeling words, but someone has got to bring it up.