What Happens When It's You?
It's not Right
So, what happens when you think that everyone should be treated equally? What happens when you treat everyone as though they have more value than you do? What do you do when the shoe falls onto the other foot?
Several years ago my husband, daughter, and I went to a Baytown, Texas Whataburger fast food restaurant. We went in for a breakfast. We stood in a short line, ordered three regular breakfast meals and sat down to wait for our food.
While we waited, the two small orders before us got served. Then another order that came in after ours was served next. After that an old woman, looked to be homeless, ordered a cup of coffee, got her cup and filled it up. She stood relatively close to us. My husband wondered where our food was. We waited. Three more orders showed up, they ordered, paid, and got their food. That was the two orders before us, and four orders after us. I looked up at the counter and the cashier looked at me and then went back to work with the next two orders.
Same story: two more orders, now it is up to six, got their food. I looked into the kitchen area and saw a tray sitting off to the side. It had three breakfast meals sitting on it. I presumed it was ours. I asked if that food was ours and why it was sitting in the back. The girl at the counter looked sideways at the tray, and ignored me. Then I asked for my money back. I was not going to eat cold food, and was not going to make my husband and child eat cold food.
Here's the kicker: The girl behind the counter was black. The people cooking the breakfast were black. The customers who were served while we waited for our order were black (except for the homeless woman: she was white). I'm white and my husband and daughter are obviously Hispanic in appearance. The homeless woman walked out with us and told us that happens to "white folk" all the time.
Were we the product of racism? I have no idea. My husband says we were. He was very familiar with the treatment we got in Whataburger in Baytown, Texas. He grew up experiencing it.
I was shocked that I was now the recipient of such treatment. I do not care about the color of one's skin. Who cares if a person is darker or lighter? Does that skin pigmentation cause a degree of value? Is there really just skin between us? Behavior and our treatment of others is all that should be important. Skin tone can be changed. Ask a 17 year old girl in the summertime, or a well-off man who goes to the tanning salon all year long. Michael Jackson went from black to white... Did that make him a better singer? Did it make him less of a philanthropist?
We are, all of us, more than the external shell that holds our blood, hearts, and brains. When we can see beyond skin color we will all be better off.