Sunday, May 4, 2014

Me, the Classless!

Today, finally I experienced racism in America! I had heard the stories but I didn't believe it could happen to me in this age and time. It was a very educative yet pretty draining experience. My fault was that I was asked to move to an express line in Walmart at the request of the person at the counter while I had more than 20 items to buy.

Ok, for those who don't know 'Walmart', it is one of the US supermarkets such as Safeway and others where you can buy almost everything that you need for your household at a fairly reasonable price. The 'express line' is where only those customers can go who are buying 20 or less items. Anyways, my husband and I bought more twenty items and had the audacity to go at the express counter when lady at the register called because there was no other customer.

As we were in the middle of the checkout, a person came behind us and started to complain why we were in the express line if we had more than 20 items. I tried to explain how we ended up there and I added, "Ma'am by the time you arrived, there were less than 20 items anyways so it is ok". I thought I was trying to calm her down but that made her furious because she claimed that I was classless, from the ghetto ( a part of city where the minority groups live: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghetto) and what not…

Just by the color of my skin and my Indian clothing she had figured out that I had no class, didn't have any higher education and didn't make decent salary. This was my first ever encounter with an openly racist person so I told her that she sounded like a racist. That made her more upset and she asked Obama taught you that?

I tried to take her on but she told me that the conversation was finished so I smiled and said, "Madam, God bless you!" I was just amazed that in 2014, things like this still happen, that too, in a diverse place such as Northern Virginia and I was supposed to be branded as worthless, suck it up and move on?

I wish I had a way to sit down with this person and tell her that I may have been from the ghetto, I still deserved a bit more respect than to be humiliated publicly. Although, she probably was right that I am classless because I don't think I fit into anyone class but it was her disrespect for minority people that made me sad.

The worst part impact was on my husband who is a Puerto Rican American. All his memories of when he first moved to the US came alive when more than few people treated him with contempt because of his hispanic accent. He was more hurt than I was… I am sorry for him, for myself and for all those whose dignity is ripped off because of their race. However, I am very sorry for those who are disrespectful to people based on race, skin color because they are sick and sad from within.

I have forgiven this person and I pray that she realizes that she has a potential friend in me regardless of my class or color. I hope she has a restful night tonight and wakes up with a desire to be angel of peace for herself and for others around her. 

4 comments:

  1. I can sense your anger in your narrative, and then I can see your are peaceful enough to wish her peace and forgiveness. It is so difficult to imagine how deep the divides of colour and nationality are in times when we have reached Mars, and beyond. I guess the real space journeys need to begin in our minds.
    I have lots of family in US, and similar incidents, even though 'small', are not uncommon.

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  2. Such People do exist mean, unreasonable, the LCDs.....pity them anyway.

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  3. Such People do exist mean, unreasonable, the LCDs.....pity them anyway.

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  4. I'm so sorry this happened. Thanks for handling it so graciously!

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