Temporary Selective Racism
I work in a racially diverse office. People of many different ethnicities, creeds and nationalities come together five days a week to knock out projects. But, like I’ve said in previous posts, that doesn’t mean some of these people aren’t racist. I’ve been noticing the signs, like Temporary Selective Racism (TSR). What’s TSR? Let me give you some examples…
My coworker, Ted, and I were at my desk reviewing a Power Point presentation on my computer. As we made edits, I could hear someone in the adjacent office, eating like a goddamn hyena. It was Alex, one of the few Asian people on my floor. I asked Ted, “What the hell he eating in there?”. Ted responded,
Just to make absolutely sure that he was being racist, I asked him what he meant by that. He looked at me with a we’re-not-on-the-same-page? face, looked at the computer screen and said, “I think the cover page could use more color”.
Alex was eating a sandwich by the way, not that it’d be a problem if he were actually eating rice. (who the doesn’t like rice?). Ted couldn’t avoid the racist jokes for 8 hours in the office? Fuckin’ ridiculous. People like Ted are the reason for this picture popping up when I Google searched “Asian businessman”
The following week, Ted and I were working on a research project that required racial demographic data. I mentioned that the a particular county’s Hispanic population had grown by 20% in the last two years. Ted nodded and said,
“Probably because they fit hundreds of people into a single house”
Well damn. I just stared at Ted right in his face, until he turned around and opened up a random spreadsheet.
So I got to thinking, “What the hell does Ted say about me when I’m not around?”. I’ve seen some of the other Black employees partake in subtly offensive jokes with White people in the office. I’ve heard jokes about Hispanics, Asians and midgets. I even hear light jokes about other Caucasoid ethnicities (several jokes about Irish and Italian people). But while you’re trading lulz with Trevor and Emily, they’re just reserving the Black jokes for later; when yo Black ass aint around. TSR.
Watch out for the signs.