Monday, November 10, 2008

I feel liberated

Monday morning. Work.

Some guy calls in about fifteen minutes before his scheduled appointment. I am available to talk to him (about his finances and possible assistance), so the call gets transferred to me. I told him to hold a sec until I get his file up. He must have believed that he is “on hold” and I cannot hear him, so he talks with some other guy:
“This one does not even speak English, I think they got one of those c**** (1) people”

Too bad I heard him.
“I overheard what you have said and I cannot go further with this appointment”
“What? What have you just said?” (2)
“I overheard what you have said and I have to end this discussion here. I suggest that you call back to request somebody that speaks English”

He hung up. I asked one of my co-workers to call him and when she called she was told that she went hunting and will be out for a while. (3) I am afraid that he will need some comprehensive anger management therapy now.

But I... I feel liberated. (4)

(1) I cannot figure out why but people that just hear me on the phone assume that I am:
1. South Asian (mainly Indian), 2. East Asian (mainly Chinese), 3. Hispanic.
This guy might have said “ Chinese” and not “chink” but his opinion about my (lack off) competence was obvious.
(2) I think he had a shock when I told him that I could tell him off for his bigotry. Can you believe the guts of this Indian/Chinese/ Hispanic lady?
(3) Maybe he went to join Sarah Palin on an Alaskan hunting trip. (I surely hope they contain themselves to hunt wild beasts).
(4) It felt so darn good. I do not know how other people might think, but I got my (East) European ego and it needs to express itself sometimes…


gingatao said...

Yaya for you. There is a great sense of liberation in refusing to be intimidated by ignorance. Your footnotes are very cool too.

Annamari said...

thanks Paul.
...and I feel much better knowing that many people do not think like this guy.

Julie said...

YES!!!! Can you hear me applauding? This is awesome!! I'm so glad you told that ignorant jerk you heard what he said. Too many times, I have quietly taken ignorant comments from people at work, and I get mad at myself for doing it. You're my new hero!

I remember when my classmates in college used to complain about teachers with "foreign" accents. They said they "could not understand" what the teacher was saying. Bull crap. I listened and understood every word that was said. People make derogatory comments about my accent, too, and I'm from this country. So I can't imagine what it must feel like to put up with the "foreign" comments. Why are people so ignorant??

Sorry for taking up so much space with my ranting:) You touched a chord in my soul. Excellent post!

Dean J. Baker said...

well done - good to see this

Annamari said...

I sympathize with you Julie. And I do appreciate your comment.
I will have do deal with ignorant people at work again and again, but since somebody called me a c*** ( and I realized it is an ethnic slur as bad as the n word); I decided( and my managers accepted) that I do not have to deal with any person that assumes I am an idiot just because…
It does not happen that often and the geographic location of my clients makes a huge difference.
Also, if I mention that I am Romanian and not Asian, therefore European and white, most of these people seem to be excited that I came to US.
But it is more important to tell the people who believe race or ethnicity is what makes a person smart or stupid that their behavior is not going to be tolerated, period. Even if their spitefulness is misdirected …
D.J. Baker

christine said...

Annamari, how shocking to hear that kind of bigotry. He should be thanking you for helping him, and for taking the trouble to learn his language. Great how you told him off.

Just today I heard the Italian Prime Minister's shocking comments about Barack Obama's skin color. I'm hoping for the day when people can look beyond differences.

Annamari said...

Thank you.
As for Berlusconi, what can I say :
oh, those fair skin Italians?
It is at least strange since in Europe the Italians from the south are among the darkest and I do know many other ethnic groups that look upon them as being inferior (including north Italians or should I call them South-Tirolese?)
There is a lot of bigotry out there...

...deb said...

Ha ha and yay! I can hear the story in my head and I applaud you (and hope, probably a little too optimistically) that it changes that person.

Annamari said...

I am afraid that some people are not going to change.