A Dark Assumption

| Right | March 31, 2016

(Our retail store hires a young African-American student to work on our sales floor. He’s funny, intelligent, and so sweet, he’s practically made of sugar. In short, he’s the least intimidating person in our staff. A middle-aged female customer comes up to me, looking a bit nervous.)

Customer: “Excuse me.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Customer: “I need to ask you a question. Do you have a black man working here?”

Me: “Yes… that’s [New Hire]. He’s been here for about two weeks.”

Customer: *relieved* “Oh, thank goodness. I was worried there for a moment. I own the shop next door and I was attacked by a black man last week. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t him.”

(I assure her that my coworker is, in fact, supposed to be here, and she happily walks away. I’m both startled and angry that the lady would assume that my sweet coworker would be her attacker simply because he is black. Frustrated, I head into the back room where the new hire and the manager are working. I relay the story to my manager while my coworker listens a few feet away.)

Manager: *jokingly* “[New Hire]! You haven’t been attacking anyone lately, have you?!”

New Hire: *also jokingly* “Not that I know of…”

(I’m glad he was such a good sport about it and laughed it off, but it still pissed me off that the lady would accuse my coworker of such a terrible thing based solely on his skin color.)


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