This happened. In America, in 2019. In San Francisco.
A woman asked me which bottle of sauce would be spicier. This happened at my job, about which I haven’t written much because this isn’t about them and I don’t want inferences getting made about them because this isn’t about them, and that is not the intention of this writing exercise.
But there I was at work, which is customer-facing, when she asked me her question. Her totally valid question. To which I said something to the effect of I wouldn’t be the best person to ask because I don’t much care for spicy. Spices, yes, but not spicy. Nothing hot. No flamin’ nothin’. But if I had to guess….
I don’t think she meant it as a joke when she said, “But I thought you all liked spicy food.”
The caucacity of her statement didn’t hit me until a few moments later, when I began to hear what she’d said through the fog of my having had to make a synapse fire in order to cut through the ignorance of her surprising faux pas – to make her not feel like she’d just screwed the pooch with that ridikolous remark. And thank goodness that once I heard it, once I actually heard it, that I should like spicy food because I look like I do or that I look like this therefore I must enjoy all the chilis, I told a co-worker. If I hadn’t told a friend I would have found it that much more difficult to believe another co-worker when he recently told me, immediately after it happened, that he was asked where he was from, because of his lack of accent, and that when he said he’s from L.A., the lady – another Susan! – insisted with the classic, “But where are you really from?”
You cannot make this shit up. As it turns out.
Please, do not forget that there are still children locked up in cages in the United States of America, in 2019, all because of who they are, and consider learning more about and supporting RAICES, a Texas-based non-profit working to promote justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.