Do the racial math?

November 17, 2013

I think I have pretty much l settled into the London life now. I still struggling to say ‘I love London’. At the rate it’s going, I don’t know if that day will come. Certain things have occurred which are now starting to leave a sour taste in my mouth. My cousins warned me about incidents which would likely occur, like the one I am about to tell you. Yet I brushed them off. I assumed for multicultural hub like London, the society would be past this kind of petty behaviour.
Now, I am the not the one who likes to play the race card. I always try to give people the benefit of doubt when it involves me directly. When I say it’s racism, it is my last straw. I think I do that because I don’t want to appear like I am using the race card as a scapegoat. For example, I have had friends say ‘I didn’t get the job because the interviewer was racist’. When in actual fact, they were not qualified for it.

There is a girl at work who I think is a racist. I have discussed it over with a feel people and they all thing racist. So I am leaving it up to you do the ‘racial math’ and tell me. I currently work as a freelance designer for a lifestyle brand. This girl I work with, her approach towards me points the signs of a racist. Most times she tries to ignore my presence. When I acknowledge her, she is always seems cold. She moved from some other seat and ended up sitting next to me and didn’t utter a word. A normal person would realise that I am a newbie and start a conversation or at least a ‘Hiya’. She freely chats non-stop with other people around. It’s not like I am desperate for her to talk to me, but it’s common courtesy to say a word or two to someone you sit next to for about 35 hours a day. Sometimes I just want her to shut-up!

A simple ‘Morning‘ seems to much like an inconvenience for her, when I walk past to get to my desk I feel like cold hateful air is oozing out of her.  I told my friends in Australia about her behaviour and other minor incidents which had occurred and they were saying racism straight away. Although, I was sitting on the fence. When I say someone is racist I feel like I am calling them Hilter. So I want to be very sure before I say it. I was telling my friends maybe she just doesn’t like people because I heard her say that to a fellow colleague a few weeks ago or maybe she grew up in a place where there was no multiculturalism and so forth. I got over the girl and the issue very quickly because trying to figure out whether she was racist or not was a waste of space in my mind. Besides that, the girl is not on my team so I don’t have to work with her. I thought if she can ignore me, I guess I could easily do the same. Even though I find that hard, because I am the kind of person who will always acknowledge out of respect. Even if you don’t like me. I would go to a party and make sure I have spoken to EVERYONE I know there. Let’s say there are 100 people and I know 80, I have to cover the base. The fact that we are in the same space and we are acquainted, I believe that everyone deserves ‘surface respect’ – that is a simple ‘Hello’, ‘Morning’ and so forth.

A few days ago, this girl singled me out in a way which I found quite insulting and it made me draw the line at racist. If you have ever watched Unwritten Rule, the series which is based on the book, “40 Hours and an Unwritten Rule: The Diary of a Nigger, Negro, Colored, Black, African-American Woman” (Butterfly Ink Publishing, 2004). The web-series examines the comedic realities of Racey Jones, an African-American in a predominantly white workplace. The story I am about to tell you about is just like the way Kathy treats Racey as if Kathy is a superior being. Except the ‘Kathy’ I work with tries very hard not to speak to me.

Anyway, every month, this lifestyle brand has an in-house sample sale for employees. This week we had one and when the sale was about to start, I got up like the others around me ready to go. This girl got up as well and offered to take a new colleague down to the sale. She then turned to me and said ‘Only permanent staff can go’ and quite loudly as well as if she wants everyone around to know that I shouldn’t be there. Yes get it, I work as a contractor. Along with all the other people who sit around me and so many others in the office. I am set up on the system and I get company emails and news like everyone else. I went to the sale last month, one of my team members went as well and he is a contractor too. A number of contractors around me also went to the sale. The new colleague this girl was offering to take down to the sale, is also a contractor. So why did this girl feel the need to make it clear that I wasn’t welcome. Out of all these people I have mentioned, I am the only person who is 100% black.

I was shocked, yet I kept my cool, picked up my wallet and said ‘Oh really? I will go down and see’. I went to see alright! I went to clean up for my nieces and nephews for Christmas!

Still in shock, I messaged my friends, told my cousin and my Mum and everyone came back with ‘She’s a racist’.

If racism or being a racist had a mathematical equation, what would the variants be and would be adding, subtracting dividing, multiplying or all the above? Let’s say hypotheically there is a formula for racism. With this incident, can you do the ‘racial’ math? Add the sale incident, the cold behaviour and ignoring my presence, what does that equate to?

2 comments

  • Ade

    You need to develop a really thick skin and compartmentalize. You just cannot be taking stuff like this so seriously. When she starts trying to get you fired? Then you have a problem that needs dealing with. Until then just ignore this person.

    • Gillean

      I totally agree Ade. It’s doesn’t bother me, but in that moment it I just couldn’t understand it. The last time I was faced with something like this was when I was 6 and that’s a very long time ago.

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