- Posted August 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words CAN truely hurt me
In 2005, I was working for a fortune 500 company as a Service Sales Rep. During my training, I was riding along wit a white male coworker. I have nothing against white people, for I have dated outside my race. But, there was just something about him that gave me a vibe that I didn't like. Later the next year, as I was still training, we were in a town in Alexander City(I think,) where he and the customer were discussing me filling in on his route when he goes on vacation. Now that vibe that I mention earlier, well soon found out why I was feeling that way. My co-worker and the white male customers were joking around bout me doing my best and not messing up their order. And the customer began to say, "Well, if she messes up this order, we hang people in these parts!" Me being only 24yrs. old and the ONLY black person and female there, I didn't know what to say. Or if I should say anything. When we left that customer, I asked my co-worker is this guy serious? While laughing, he said, "In these parts? Yeah they would!" I guess he saw the expression on my face because shortly after he said, "No, they just messin around wit cha." I never spoke a word of the incident to anyone. I later went with that coworker to another stop where he and the customers(white) were having a conversation. Next thing I knew, the customer stepped away and came back with a noose in his hand. My heart almost stopped. I just knew that I was about to be hanged. They way the man was just looking at me as he was holding the noose made me believe he had used it on someone. Not something.. I walked and sat on the truck and prayed. I asked God to just help me to make it through this because I needed this job. At the time, being this was my 1st job that I thought I would make a career out of, I was making $14.78/hr with FULL benefits(health, dental, vision, matching 401k, short and long term disability.) I didn't think I could do any better! Again, I never spoke of this incident to anyone. But, the last time I did. later that year while filling in on the same route, I was in Dadeville, Al and went to one of the customers, and this time, I was with another fellow employee. He as also a white male, just a little older. We went to this stop and the customer and my co-worker was talking about the service that the customer was receiving. I can't tell you word for word about everything the customer was saying, but I do remember 2 words he said that sent chills through my body. Those 2 words were "COLORED DRIVER." I couldn't distinguish if I was more upset about this man saying those words or at my co-worker that stood there and continued to carry a conversation with this man! I wanted to cry and curse both men out all in one. I walked off and waited for my coworker on the truck. and when he came back, I asked him if he heard what the man said. He said, "Yeah, you mean the "C" word? Yeah, he just one of those types you just have to ignore." That was inexcusable to me. When we got back to the office, I went to the Service Manager and I told him the customer name and location and the coworker that was with me. He apologized and said they have a zero tolerance for that. And that they will look into it. I still had to fill in on the route at least 3 other times and had to see that same customer. Trust me when I say, racism is alive.