A Slice of Covert Racism

On a recent flight back home, I was sitting in my usual choice of an aisle seat mostly because I don’t like to crawl over strange legs when I need to use the restroom.

An older (older than me) woman crawled over me to take the window seat.

A young man was escorted to his seat directly across from me by a flight attendant who commented on his height and asked him how old he was as he was flying as an unaccompanied minor.

He was nine-years-old and about six feet tall.

Just a little boy in a man sized body.

I could feel his embarrassment as he was singled out for his height and I’m sure has had to endure a zillion comments about it.

He was very quiet, but seemed a little scared, so I chatted with him a bit, and he was very sweet. His dad was picking him up and he would be starting school in San Diego. He began to open up and just as I suspected, he was a little boy who didn’t really know how to deal with the fact that he looked like he was in high school.

The older woman next to me said, in a very heavy southern accent, “I should get his autograph now, he’s going to be famous.”

I didn’t respond to her right away because I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt or maybe I had misinterpreted what she was alluding to, but she repeated herself loud enough for the young man to hear, and I felt that I needed to do something.

I said, “What are you saying? That because he’s tall, his only life path is basketball?”

She looked at me and said, “Well, he’s tall…” and then her voice and thought faded.

I replied loud enough for anyone to hear, “Maybe he’s going to be a doctor. Or a professor. Or an artist or a writer. Just because someone has a physical trait doesn’t mean it’s a life sentence. He can and should do whatever touches his heart.”

The woman had so much ingrained covert racism built into her that she didn’t really know what to say, but a few minutes later she told me that she thought about it and agreed with me, so then we had a pleasant rest of the flight.

Did I change her?

Probably not, but the grateful smile I received from a nine-year-old made my day.

(And did I really need to mention that he was a six foot tall African American nine-year-old child or did you figure that out for yourselves?)

And then I saw this photo of Trump serving fast food to the Clemson team.
More covert or not so covert racism. Love Reggie Bush’s tweet.

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6 thoughts on “A Slice of Covert Racism

  1. I love how you handled the woman on the plane. My younger brother was continually asked if he played basketball because he’s tall. He had less than no interest in b-ball, and ended up rowing on crew through high school and college. And he became a teacher. I’m glad you let that young man know #1 not everyone out there is so narrow minded, and #2 he can be anything he wants when he grows up.

    I still can’t believe the crap that was served to the Clemson team. They probably thought they’d be eating steaks and some delicious dessert. I put on a better spread for my parents’ anniversary when I was only 13 or 14, making everything myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I so totally agree. How disrespectful and small minded Trump is. Every day he does something more disgusting. With regard to the lady, it was an eye opener to me to see how she seemed to have no idea that her comment could be construed as racist or biased or simply unintelligent. The part I didn’t say in the post was that my son was tall too and was told he should go out for a sport and he’s a professor, so children need to not be forced into stereotypes and find their own bliss. Poor little guy, he was so sweet and his voice was a child’s voice, not a teen’s. I’m glad I spoke up and shut her up haha!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Good job! I am rather tall and even though I am female and loved basketball and played junior varsity and varsity at my all-girl high schools, it was always annoying to be asked if I played baskletball. There is so much more to a person than what sports they play . . .or don’t.

    In the CA community college system, when they were cutting costs, they made all of the classes that one normally repeats for skill building (art, music, drama, etc) expect sports classes that one could only take three times . . . it takes a lot more than three semesters to become proficient at playing a musical instrument or creating ceramics or fine art. But the sports classes could be taken an indefinite number of times. It goes to show what the old school old white men government, even in a state that claims to be progressive, values and how backwards they are.

    And that was a hell of a performance by the cheetoh from the WH. . . . every time you think he could not be more of a national disgrace, he just has to prove you wrong! Totally disgusted! And everything is always someone or everyone else’s fault. Is he six years old? Just mentally! And I do not mean to insult children.

    Liked by 1 person

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