The Day I Accidentally Started a Very Small Race Riot at Work

Let me start off by saying: No. I am not racist. I actually barely even percieve people in enough detail to acknowledge their skin color, especially at work as I’m often too busy to give someone more than a passing glance. Indifference is a good term for it.

So, I work at a convenience store in a small town. 24 hour. This is pertinent, I promise.

About a week ago, I was on the midnight shift with a newer girl, ad teacing her how to do specific reports for the shift on her register. In the midst of this, I see the door open out of the corner of my eye, and instinctively grab the, “Register Closed,” sign and plop it on the counter in front of the register, as this one cannot be used while running reports.

Suddely, the other girl starts hyperventalating. Politely, I inquire as to what her malfunction is. She just points. At the group of 6 black men that just walked in. All of them staring at me as though i just threatened to curbstomp one or all of them. Having gotten my attention, they begin to complain loudly about my racial intollerance.

Unsurprisingly, I have no idea what they mean.

It escalates.

They are now yelling about being refused service because they are black.


“You see, sirs, you misunderstand. This register cannot be used right now, because we’re running reports on it. I’d be happy to check you out on the other register.”

I hadn’t been aware at the time that African Americans were capable of blushing.

Now, on to the real point of this story:

I was walking home from work this evening, and one of them pulled over in his car, apologized again for yelling at me, and asked if I needed a ride as it is much too hot out to walk far. I declined as I only live a few blocks from work, and I enjoy the exercise.

He replied, “Yes’m Miss Ellie, you’n be curful nah, t’aw’ways dangerus fo’ lady to go outta wawkin’ ah nigh; but I be watchin fo’ you, so’s yuh git hum safe.”

Why he exaggerated his speach pattern as such, I can’t figure out; but I know from his smile, it was some sort of joke. I just don’t get it.

Is it a bad thing to be so oblivious?

Anyway, after conversing further, I discovered that he also lives nearby, and has cats. And likes classical music. And he juggles. I saw it. Color me blown away.

How can anyone be racist when EVERYONE is so damn interesting?


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