I only got out one post for International Blog Against Racism Week while it was still happening, but you know… there’s never a wrong time to call out this shit when it happens. And lo and behold, yesterday, when I was at work, something gross and racist happened.
I’m a computer geek, and on Sunday I spent my day reorganizing the server room. We had a lot of cables left over after the reorg, so on Monday I was sorting through them and holding them up in the air to see how long they were. As I was doing so, one of my officemates walked in to the office and said offhandedly, “Looks like you’re getting ready for a lynching.” This was such a weird and unpleasant thing to say that my first reaction was just an annoyed, “What?!” He didn’t reply, and several minutes passed as it sank in what he had just said, and I felt more and more sickened.
Most people reading this blog know me personally, but for anyone who doesn’t I will say that I am white. I’m certain my officemate, who is also white, would not have made the comment he made if I was black. It was an “in joke” for white people (though thankfully he didn’t push its humor value) the likes of which I haven’t encountered in years. It infuriated me that he would think I was in his club, but given that I have to work with the guy I didn’t yell at him. Instead, after a couple of minutes of intense thought, I told him that it was an unsavory reference and that I would prefer it if he didn’t make comments like that. And then I told our mutual boss.
This guy has made sexist comments in the past, too, and generally doesn’t seem too smart about what he says in front of other people. I wish I thought he was just a bad apple, but I wonder how many of his beliefs are held by other people in my community who are more subtle or careful about who they talk to. Ugh.