I was at work yesterday, as I obviously am most days, and we had the Olympics on the TV. I was serving a customer and I glanced over to see one of the men’s sprinting events. I noticed that the lady glanced over as well, so, seeing that the camera was zoomed in to a slow motion shot of the race leader, I jokingly said “I’d hate to have him chasing me!“. At this point the lady I was serving looked back at me with a quizzical and judgmental stare, and said “Why?

Now at this point, three things became immensely apparent.

1. The leader of the sprint was black.
2. The lady I was serving was black.

And these would not be an issue, had it not been for:

3. Unlike where I grew up, the place I live at the moment is very segregated.

In that single moment, it was like my entire identity had been called into question. I felt like I was on trial. I managed to claw back my intention by stammering “He’s just really fast…?” which she seemed to accept with a suspicious grunt, but still it was a long awkward moment. Which was great. So, by being so against the logistics of racism that I forget that a divide between the ethnicities even exists, I still managed to walk head first into a potential Rosa Parks, and make a idiot of myself to a complete stranger by simply trying to comment that an Olympic sprinter was quite fast.

I probably shouldn’t speak.

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. At least you can be grateful Rosa wasn’t chasing you, as she would be on the bus…..

  2. Good to see the girlfriend made your bail, and you’re back to blogging.

  3. brilliant! Reminds me of my own similar instant! Will blog now!

  4. Too bad we can’t walk around with a list of our beliefs and past experiences posted on our foreheads!

    We’ve all been there. Be consoled that you are self-aware and bright enough to have noticed her discomfort. You are a good person.


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About Felix O'Shea

Felix is a guy who isn't actually a writer, but calls himself one when he wants to try to impress gullible people.


Weird things that somehow happen to me


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