Uncle Thom’s Elevator (Unintentional Racism Files)
Welp, today’s story involves a character I’ve written something about, and we will write about more in the future: The Other Black Employee (TOBE for short, pronounced “tob-ee”). TOBE is usually our worst enemy and our best friend. If TOBE is of the opposite gender, then the office will inevitably always try to set you up as a couple. If TOBE is of the same gender, then you will inevitably be confused for each other and be in a constant state of kinship and rivalry at once.
My TOBE is a special type. He’s probably whiter than Tiger Woods. You know he’s the type to learn Navajo to better get in touch with his 1/32 Native American ancestry. He brings hummus to community lunches. His name is Thomas, but in a way that shows me God has a sense of humor, he goes by “Thom” after his favorite musician, Thom Yorke. This is an artist’s rendition of what Thom looks like:
We don’t really talk much. There isn’t much competition or friendship between us, and we have about as much in common as I do with my office-mate, who is a white woman. We don’t dress alike, as he wears cardigan sweatervests and such (eww). So this is why I was SHOCKED when this happened to me on the elevator: AND HERE COMES THE UNINTENTIONAL RACISM
I got on the elevator in the bottom floor with a woman I’d never met. She looks at me in the face, and says “Oh you’re early today, THOM, no more sleeping in?” I was devastated. It was like having your Armani suit being mistaken for a Target suit. I thought we were as different as night and day, but apparently there still isn’t distinction enough. I feel like if she knew Thom enough to know when he comes to work, she should know that I clearly am NOT Thom. Add that to the fact that Thom is apparently a loafer and I (usually) get to work around 7:50 every morning, and I’m really hurt. I officially hate my TOBE. Clearly there ain’t room enough on the third floor for the two of us. Think I’ll organize a Kwanzaa party for him or make his background on his computer an image from BigBootyHoes.com or something to get him in trouble. Idk, but this is war. Stay tuned.