Saturday, July 7, 2012

Black and White (and angry all over)

I once worked at a bank that prided itself on service. One day, a man came in to have his PIN reset on his debit card. I asked to see some ID to make sure I was changing the PIN for the owner of the card, and not someone who found it. He told me he didn’t have any ID and that he was in a hurry. Both of those statements were warning signs. I explained my reason for asking for ID. His response was to smack my arm and say, “You’re a jerk!”

As he was leaving the bank, I said to him, “Sir, you just hit me, and that’s not okay.” He didn’t say anything, but instead just left the bank. I remembered his name from seeing it on the debit card. I searched through the database and found a match. After that, I called my district manager (I was the manager at this branch) and told him I a customer hit me. Naturally, his response was, “What did you do to upset him?”

Fast forward a little bit. The incident was reported the proper way and the customer was contacted by my district manager. The man said he was mad because if he had been a white man, I would have never asked for ID. He said I was a racist. When I heard this, I was stunned. It took me a moment to think back and realize the man was an African American.

Understand, I hold no ill will toward anyone based on their skin color or nationality. In the end, based on the eyewitness accounts of my fellow employees, the man’s accounts were closed by the bank.

There were several things about the situation that were disturbing, but for me, the most disturbing was being accused of being a racist.

I hadn’t thought about this event until recently when a story came out of a church in Alabama who were holding a “Whites-Only Christian Conference.” I read the article and then a number of the comments. The general tone was outrage. The pastor was called all sorts of names, racist being one of them. And then there was a comment from someone that gave me reason to pause. The conference was held just a few days after the BET (Black Entertainment Television) awards. I read an article on that and there were comments from readers that it was racist.

I guess what I can’t wrap my head around is why so many people are quick to point to something that excludes them and then they make a big stink about it. I can’t imagine someone who attended the BET awards wanting to attend the Whites-Only Christian Conference and vice-versa.

Granted, some of the messages in these types of events are derogatory toward another group of people. That’s a shame and it shouldn’t happen.

This is where I’d write something profound to but it all in perspective—however, I just have to shake my head and hope that one day people will stop seeing things in black in white. There’s a whole range of colors out there to enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I especially like your closing statement. :)

    Have a good weekend!