Monday, January 22, 2007

Polite racist people

Last week was Martin Luther King Day and next week is Black History Month. We're in the middle of African-American celebrations and many African-Americans themselves are in the middle of being Black and non-Black (which I explained last week). This gray area of Black identity can sometimes lead to interestingly racist situations. Like this African-American woman who was served at a White-only diner:


Carol Parks-Haun was doing a sit-in protest against racial segregation at a diner in Kansas, when, to her surprise, she wasn't discriminated against:

Parks-Haun remembers entering (the diner). She sat down on the center stool and ordered a coke, but didn't think the waitress would actually serve her. [...] "She gave it to me and I said, 'oh my,' and the others came in and they sat and she looked at them -- and she looked at me -- and she leaned forward and she said, 'You are not colored are you dear?'"

"You are not colored are you dear?"? I never knew people could be polite and racist at the same time.

Of course, it's possible that the waitress wasn't prejudiced herself; she could've been just following orders. But I thought the whole point of prejudice was to prejudge people? Not ask them about themselves and then judge them. Can you see why it's weird to ask someone what race they are, just so you can say something racist? If you're going to discriminate someone, at least be confident about it. (Of course, it's better to not discriminate at all).


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