Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm Not a Racist

I work with an interesting co-worker. We'll call her Tonya. Tonya happens to be an African American, and for some reason, always finds a way to remind me of this fact. Now before you go calling the NCAAP on me, I should mention that her daily reminders are not the result of me making repeated racist statements towards her or her race. Instead, it's just that she makes bizarre statements that make me awkwardly go, "Oh yeah. You're black and I'm white. Cool. That's awesome." For example, I asked her why she always drinks chocolate milk when she gets to work. She answered, "Of course, I drink chocolate milk. Look at my skin." To which, makes me stiffly nod my head and say, "Oh yeah, I love regular milk...because I'm white." Another example: I asked her which cookie out of our pastry case she likes the most. She answered: "I like the chocolate brownie." And before I could ask why, she said, "You know, because I'm black." Again, I had to fight not scrunching my eyes together and saying, "Yeah, that makes sense. I like the cheese coffee cake...because I'm white."

I don't know what I'm supposed to do in these situations. Is she waiting for me to actually say something racist so she can say, "Ah ha. I told you I was black. I can't believe you said that!!!?" Should I say thanks for her believing in me and knowing that I don't see color or race? Do I start answering her questions the same nonsensical way? Like, when she asks me, "What did you do yesterday?" I answer, "I played ice hockey, ate crackers and danced really bad...because I'm white." I just don't know.

I guess the only thing I do know is that I will continue to ask her questions like, "Black or pinto beans with your tacos? Young Michael Jackson or old Michael Jackson? Coffee with cream or without? Jet magazine or Newsweek? Obama or Bush? Bengal tigers or panthers? Day or night? Black Sea or Mediterranean Sea? Salt or Pepper? I can only dream what her answers will be...

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