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    Category: Bigotry

    Middle East Meets Far East

    | New York City, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Employees, Language & Words

    (I pop into a liquor store on my way home. I’m a white female. The cashier behind the register is from Iran, second-generation. He has always been very polite and friendly towards me, and he speaks with a heavy accent. I grab my purchases and get in line behind an older Korean customer.)

    Customer: “Only this, please.”

    Cashier: “What?”

    Customer: *very clearly and slowly* “Only this, please.”

    Cashier: “I don’t understand you. Do you speak English?”

    Customer: “Yes, I speak very well. Please, may I pay?”

    Cashier: *to me* “Do you speak Asian?”

    Me: *completely baffled* “Uh, I think he said he’s ready to pay. He doesn’t need anything else.”

    Cashier: “Okay. Fine.”

    (He rings up the gentleman who leaves without making eye contact with anyone, clearly upset or embarrassed.)

    Cashier: *ringing me up* “Those people need to learn our language, right? He’s lucky you know Chinese!”

    (I was so shocked I haven’t been back to that particular store.)

    Your Attitude Is Handicapped

    | TX, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Coworkers, Health & Body

    (A disabled customer has asked one of us to come outside and collect a payment from her so she doesn’t have to leave the car. I’m right in the middle of something, so I ask my new coworker to do it.)

    Coworker: “No. She’s probably not even disabled.”

    Me: “She definitely is. She’s in a wheelchair.”

    Coworker: “So? What does she do at home? How does she get around?”

    Me: “I have no idea, but are you seriously refusing?”

    Coworker: “She’s probably rude and lazy.”

    Me: “Actually, she’s not. She’s very sweet. To come inside she’d have to get her wheelchair off the car, get out, get in it, maneuver down our sidewalk, up the ramp, and pull open our really heavy door, all for a 30-second transaction. If we walk out it will just be a 30-second transaction.”

    Coworker: “Well, I don’t pander to supposedly handicapped people.”

    (I helped the customer, and when I told my boss he was livid and fired Coworker then and there.)

    Test Driving Back To The Fifties

    | IL, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Employees, Transportation

    (While we are shopping for a used car, my husband hears me range from humor to anger about the chauvinistic salesmen talking down to me. At one dealership, the salesman pops the hood and goes into a detailed discussion of the engine with my husband. He then pulls me to the passenger side to discuss the vanity mirror, cup holder, and car color. The salesman then hands my husband the keys for a test ride. His mouth falls open when hubby gives me the keys and gets in the passenger seat. He is actually pacing outside when we return. He runs over to us.)

    Salesman: “How did she handle?”

    Me: “We’re not buying it. It needs a new transmission, the steering pulls to the right, the brake rotors have been resurfaced incorrectly, and it leaks antifreeze.”

    (As we turn to leave, my husband calls back to the dumbstruck chauvinist.)

    Husband: “But I absolutely looooove the vanity mirror!”

    Pretty Woman: A Christmas Special

    | USA | Bigotry, Employees, Holidays, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (I’m shopping for my father for Christmas, but he is incredibly picky. I decide to get him a gift card from a high end men’s clothing store. I stop by on my way home from my job at a kennel. I’ll admit that I’m wearing rain boots, muddy jeans, and a very doggy-smelling hoodie, so I look very out of place.)

    Salesperson #1: “Oh! Ma’am! You’re tracking mud in!”

    Me: “I don’t see any. I think the rain washed it off my boots. If I did, I’m so sorry!”

    Salesperson #1: “Miss, I cannot let you stay here. You can have a cup of coffee, but I can’t let you stay.”

    Me: “What?”

    Salesperson #1: “Why don’t you go home for the holidays? Do you have a home?”

    Me: “Yes, of course I do!”

    Salesperson #1: “Right. I’m going to have to ask you to leave. I’m sure you can’t afford anything here anyway.”

    Me: “Whoa! Wait! First of all, I’m not shopping for myself! Second, who cares if I can or can’t afford anything! I’m here to see if you sell gift cards!”

    Salesperson #1: “Oh… Yes, we do.”

    Me: “Third, I know I look grungy, but that shouldn’t matter. I work at a dog kennel to pay for my own housing. I just picked up an extra shift so I could buy my dad a Christmas gift. Are you going to sell me a f****** gift card or not?”

    Salesperson #1: *goes pale* “Oh… I… Yes, ma’am. Will that be a $20 card?”

    Me: “Do you get a commission?”

    Salesperson: “Yes.”

    Me: “I’d like another salesperson.”

    Salesperson: “Okay.”

    (At hearing this, another salesperson comes over.)

    Salesperson #2: “Yes, miss? How much would you like on your gift card?”

    Me: “$250.”

    Salesperson #1: “She can’t afford that!”

    Salesperson #2: “[Salesperson #1], go to the back. Miss, I’m terribly sorry for my coworker’s behavior.”

    Me: “I understand, I guess. I look kind of gross right now. I just got off a 10-hour shift of manual labor.”

    Salesperson #2: “I understand completely. I apologize again for my coworker.”

    Me: “No worries. Merry Christmas!”

    Not Just A White Christmas

    | Houston, TX, USA | Bigotry, Employees, Family & Kids, Holidays, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (It is the 1970s. I am five years old. My dad’s company throws a rather lavish Christmas party for all the employees. It is a manufacturing plant for the oil industry. The party is in one of the larger facilities they have and has a few indoor carnival rides, lots of 70s Christmas decor, and many, many families, some who are of diverse backgrounds and heritages, but who mostly are Caucasian, as are most if not all of the management. My family is Caucasian/white.)

    Employee: “Hey, did you know we got a Santa Claus over here?”

    Me: “Really?!”

    Employee: “Sure thing!”

    Me: *to my mom* “Can I go see Santa? Please?!”

    Mom: “Yes, honey; you can go.”

    (When I get there to line up for a toy, there is quite a surprise. There are TWO Santa Clauses; a white one and an African-American one! The African-American Santa looks about as confused as I am but seems really friendly and full of Christmas spirit. I also note that because most of the kids were white, they line up to sit on the white Santa’s lap. My logic was thus: African-American Santa looks lonely and he seems really nice, and because very few kids have lined up with him he still has a better assortment of toys left! My mind is made up. My mom hasn’t seen me for a while so she comes to look for me. To her genteel, racist horror, she sees her daughter happily sitting on ‘black Santa’s’ lap, smiling and enjoying talking to him. He is really sweet!)

    Mom: “Oh… uh… Here you are.”

    Me: “Hi, mom!”

    Mom: “Well, come on then, honey. Time to go!”

    (My mother offered a hurried thank you after I got to pick a toy (he really did have the best toys!) and ushered me away. I smiled and waved goodbye to the confused but kind man. To me, the color of his skin didn’t matter. All I saw was a nice, bored man with better toys than the other guy. To ‘black Santa,’ wherever you are, I’ll never forget how kind and sweet you were despite the rather racist overtones of the whole experience for you. I hope you had a great life!)


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