Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It's not racist to notice

I grew up in the 70s. It was a weird time in the culture of America. The 60s just wrapped up, with all the peace and love and equality stuff, and the country was still sort of reacting to that, settling into the ‘new ways’ of the new decade. Race was a much different issue then. The parental generation of the time was typically from the civil rights era, so we were raised by people who saw race differently. They didn’t all dislike others based on their race, but we, as children being exposed to their musings on the subject, were made very aware of the differences between the cultures. Observations which are considered racist by today’s standards.
As a result, I see race differently from the way people under 30 view it. I typically keep my mouth shut about it because you never know what someone is going to be offended by.

That being said…

I was talking to a professional at a payroll company today. He said his name was Wesley. I almost mentioned Wesley Snipes, because he’s the most recognizable actual Wesley I could think of (Wesleys in Princess Bride and Star Trek: TNG came to mind but don’t exist), and at that point I realized that the person on the phone is black. Once in a while you get someone like Al Roker, or Dave Chapelle doing his “white guy” impersonation, and you can’t tell by voice alone if they're black, but it seems like most of the time you can. There’s nothing racist about it. But he also sounds young, so I have no idea how his generation feels about having something like that pointed out or alluded to, or if he would even notice.

So he was giving me his email address. He says, “it’s Wesley, W-E-S-L-E-Y,” and I don’t say anything about Wesley Snipes, and he goes on to say, “dot, and then ‘Woods,’ like Tiger”. 

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