There is a young lady (white) who works in my office that frequently comes to me to discuss race issues. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy being the “black people expert” on staff.
The other day she comes in and tells me about a situation with one of the ladies that works at the desk in our library.
Our library sells coffee. Good coffee. For cheap. One morning the young lady I work with went over to buy a dollar cup. She placed her money on the counter and promptly got fussed at by the lady at the desk. The gist of the fussing was – put the money in my hand, are you racist, do you not want to touch me, etc., etc.
Young lady comes back flabbergasted. Can’t believe that putting money on the counter was so offensive. So I told her that from my experience black people (in America) generally expect their currency – debit card, cash, change, whatever – to be handed back to them and that slapping money or a card on the counter is a big no-no.
(I am always amazed that my mother places money on counters to be picked up by cashiers!)
Anyhoo, the young lady thought it unfair that she was attacked verbally for doing something she always does regardless of the race of the person behind the counter. She didn’t feel as though she should have to adjust her MO because of the other lady’s POV.
I told her she could choose to hand the woman the money next time or continue to get the side-eye and be labeled a racist. The choice was hers. Whether or not that’s fair, I don’t know. She’s now pretty determined not to hand the lady behind the counter her money. Ever.
What do y’all think? Is the burden on my coworker to “prove” she’s not racist by handing money to the clerk or should the clerk put aside her feelings and realize that how a person pays is not (necessarily) an indicator of negative feelings towards an entire group of people?
Curious to hear what y’all think.