please, think before you speak

In a blogger’s life, there are some posts that they don’t want to write. Sometimes they just don’t write them. Move on and wait for the next flash of inspiration to hit. Other times though, they feel like they should bite the bullet. Pull on their big girl panties and get to typing. This is one of those posts for me.

I try hard not to let my feelings on important current events not show themselves on here. And by important, I mean things not related to One Direction. The main reason for that is I don’t feel like I am knowledgeable or articulate enough to defend myself from people who may disagree with me. Also, I tend to get facts mixed up, hear what I want to hear, etc which doesn’t help me plead any case. So, I keep my mouth shut. Except yesterday something happened that really irked me and I feel the need to open my mouth.

First, I think I need to tell a little background information. I work for a small medical school that is attached to a hospital here in Brooklyn, NY. This week is filled with orientation activities for the incoming medical students. Being day one and an early day, we provide a lunch for the students. We hold the lunch in the grove, which is a nice outside space with tables and shady trees. This event is closed off to the non-orienting students and the faculty/other staff. Without fail, we get a few stragglers who want to just sit at a table in the corner or on the grass to eat their lunch but we have to turn them away. I think it’s more of a “what if they take food and then there’s not enough” kind of deal more than anything else. Now with aaalllll of that being said, here’s what happened.

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just to give you an idea

My boss told me and my co-workers to get some lunch because we would have to go back inside soon. So, we got our lunches and since the students were using all of the tables, we wound up standing close to where the food was. I was standing near our summer intern, one of the ladies who works in the Residence Halls, and our caterer. Two men came over and were circling one of the food tables. They were clearly not new students and if there were any question, a simple look at their IDs would have proved it. Our caterer noticed that they weren’t supposed to be there so he asked them politely to leave, that this was a private event. I don’t know the whole exchange because even though we were standing pretty close, I wasn’t paying attention. I was just so happy to be outside, under a shady tree, enjoying the breeze. I noticed the men walk away and our caterer turned to me and the other two ladies and said, “Did you hear what he asked me?” We all responded no because, fresh air, you know?

The caterer, who is usually pretty animated, got quiet and said, (you better sit down for this one)

He asked me if he couldn’t have any food and couldn’t be out here because he was black.

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DUUUUUDDDDEEEEEEE.

I was speechless. Obviously, this man needed a map because he forgot where he was. Let me remind you, sir. You are at the new student orientation lunch, that you and your friend are trying to crash. There are 200 new students here today plus everyone working the event. The school that sits on the campus where you are standing right now is one of the most ethnically/culturally diverse campuses I’ve ever seen. You are in Brooklyn, which is in New York; or one of the most culturally diverse cities IN THE WORLD. You are surrounded by people who I know for a fact could care less about the color of your skin. THAT’S where you are, my friend.

for the record, the caterer responded similarly to Leo up there, except less… colorfully. he explained again that it was a private affair and that he just wasn’t supposed to be there.

My question to you is, if one of our black employees came over and asked you politely to leave, just as our caterer did, would you have asked the same question? I don’t think so, let’s be real.

Maybe I’m just looking at it from my point of view where I know how diverse of a school we are and how diverse of a city we live in, but I just can’t understand why this question is still a thing and why it feels like everything boils down to the color of your skin. Could he have been kidding? Sure, but how was this funny?

I’ve said before that I was always taught to be nice to everyone. That skin color, hair color, choice of fashion, age, wealth, weight didn’t matter. None of those things made anyone a better or worse person. I know this must sound naive, hence why I was hesitant to write and post it.

I think the point I’m trying to make is, it’s time that we get those thoughts out of our heads. easier said than done, i know. Listen to what people are telling you; sometimes the reason you’re being excluded from something is as simple as there’s a boss lurking somewhere waiting to scream at her staff for not enforcing rules. Be nice to people. Think before you speak. And please, let’s all do what we can, big things and small, to get questions and thoughts like that out of our minds.

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What do you think? Did this make any kind of sense?

Let’s discuss!

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