Thursday, June 09, 2011

It's not reverse racism...

Painting: source
Today my husband related a story from his week to me. He had been out and on his way home needed an asthma pump (the man needs a preventer, he uses that pump so often, but do you think he'll listen to me???).

So, he went into one of our local chemists. We don't go into this chemist often because we've encountered what seems like subtle racisim (being ignored at the counter, being made to wait 20 minutes for service then being told we'll have to wait another 20 minutes, so we might as well go and doing something else in the mean time - while others around us are being served - and they happen to be the same race as the chemist staff) from the staff.

On this occasion, my husband was the only person at the counter. There were no staff at the counter, only the chemist herself at the back putting together prescriptions, so my husband stood and waited for about four minutes, and no one came to serve him. Then a couple came into the chemist who appeared to be the same race as the chemist and she comes from behind her partition, looks at my husband and says, "You'll just have to wait a few minutes." before turning to this other couple to serve them.

My husband responds, "Really? You haven't even asked me what I want yet, and I was here before these people." This made the chemist do a bit of a double take, and then she finally asked him what he wanted and served him.

Keeping in mind that he went into the chemist because he was short of breath (though not gasping for breath), and keeping in mind she had no idea what he was asking for - she couldn't simply assume he was after a prescription to be filled - what would you call this behaviour?

My husband called it "reverse racism". He did this because he is Caucasian and the chemist was not.

Me, I call it racism.

Just plain racism.

Racism is not only the domain of Caucasians. Any race can be racist.

Just as a person doesn't need to be wealthy to be a snob. There is snobbery, and that's it. There is not such thing as 'reverse snobbery'.

Prejudice is a two-way street, and both ways are still prejudice.

No one is any more entitled to, or excused from, prejudice.

There can't be a situation where it is 'understandable' that someone is treated differently because they appear to belong to a particular race or class or sex or religion.

The only way to 'reverse' prejudice is to not allow for it at all.


allison tait said...

Great post. A lot to think about here. What an unpleasant experience for your husband. Plain rude if nothing else.

Sif Dal said...

On the positive side, there is nothing like actually experiencing racism to put a person in touch with how that feels, hey?

Rachael said...

It's not even actually racism at all! We're all part of the HUMAN race are we not? It's a funny old term.

But yeah that experience would suck and I'm glad he called them out over it!

Good Job!