This past week Iíve made a disturbing
Racism still exists!
Well, okay, Iíve always known it did, but
the thought is usually accompanied with images of
confederate flag-toting fanatics more than anything else.
Plus, racism had always been just an abstract concept, a
touchy subject for one so young, nothing I could come in
contact with, being a child of the 21st century living in
the most democratic nation in the world.
I was proved wrong.
It happened at work. I was busy assisting
someone when I heard a sudden angry shout. It turned out
that someoneís order was packed wrong, so I left what I was
doing to apologize profusely to that customer. We were
taught that no matter what happened or what they say,
customers were always right. Apologize. Smile. Apologize.
ďThis whole order is wrong!Ē
ďIím so sorry. Let me fix it. It will
take just a minute.Ē
ďWhy canít you Chinese people do anything
ďSir, Iím so sorry.Ē
Bam! There it was. The first time Iíve
been the butt of a racist comment. Right then, at that
moment, I felt Weak. Scared. Infuriated. Alone. All the buzz
in lobby and the talk of people annihilated. I was spinning
under a fatal blow.
Days later, I would analyze that exact
moment over and over again but could only remember a
creeping, sick, sick feeling.
I had never been treated like that
before, defined solely and negatively by my race, taken in
an insult without defending myself. He implied that Chinese
people donít do things right, that I was a prime example of
an inferior race.
First, I told myself to shrug it off,
that in reality, racist bigots do exist, and I needed to
accept the fact. But then that made me angrier. I can
honestly say that all the people Iíve come in contact with,
peers and adults alike, are genuinely tolerant. Like me,
they believe that race alone does not define a person let
alone justify bigotry.
No one should tolerate racism or just
accept it. Prejudice is one of the most dangerous things of
all. It blinds truth, destroys potential, puts a whole race
of people under invisible chains.
True, itís out there. But we need to
fight it. Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. Frederick
Douglass. These were the individuals who werenít afraid to
stand up and speak up. They are why views were changed,
lives altered, equality created.
Iíve made a mistake. I should have talked
back, defended myself and my beliefs. The issue was beyond
the fact that he was a customer. It was beyond the fact that
he was an older man. It was beyond the fact that his order
was made wrong.
It was racism.
It was unjustified.
It needs to be stamped out.