Annie is a Caucasian good friend and colleague at work. I’m African and now we have been working collectively for 3 years and have personally invited her to a number of African events. For her experiences at these events, I have no idea, all I do know is that, she all the time tells me she loved the African meals and loved speaking to the Africans she met at the events I invited her to. She has been telling me about her solely brother who lives in West Virginia and all the time tells me she can be happy for me to satisfy her brother. This is as a result of; in accordance with her she has been telling the brother how good I’ve been to her since she joined the corporate I work for.
The alternative got here for me to satisfy the brother when his 50th celebration was scheduled for December, 2009 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. When Annie handed the invitation to me at work, I instructed one among my colleagues at work concerning the occasion. He suggested me to not attend as a result of it is likely to be a white -only occasion primarily based on what he is aware of about Martinsburg, West Virginia. He was emphatic and instructed me, though he’s Caucasian, he is not going to attend such a occasion.
The occasion happened at Annie’s brother’s home in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The brother is a biker and it was attended by a number of members of his bike membership. The home was full of individuals once we arrived at 8:30 pm, instantly we entered the door; I appeared round me for a number of minutes and didn’t see a single particular person of colour. I instantly started feeling insecure. Annie was busy greeting family and friends members. I used to be following her for the introductions. She launched me to the brother, the mom, and a few of her sisters. I didn’t bear in mind what number of as a result of I used to be truthfully feeling insecure already. This is as a result of, though I used to be launched to the brother, his physique language didn’t give me any indication that I used to be welcomed to the occasion. He jokingly instructed me to really feel at house and speak to all people. Most of the individuals at the occasion had been consuming and smoking closely. I instantly realized I don’t belong there.
I began wanting round if I may discover somebody to speak to. I started smiling to virtually everybody at the occasion and making pleasant gestures however to no avail. I walked to Annie and instructed her, how I felt and needed to depart the occasion. She instructed the brother, who got here to speak to me for some minutes making an attempt to make me really feel at house, by telling me about his love for bikes and the way some individuals have the inaccurate impression that bikers are gang members and racists. I solely listened and responded solely when he requested me particular questions. I used to be a little relieved throughout the dialog, in any case, he’s the host of the occasion and if he feels at house with me, why ought to I hassle concerning the attendants. According to an article I learn within the Harvard Business Review “Tempered Radicals’ written by Debra Meyerson, for a particular person to really feel or be handled completely different, she or he have to be completely different from one thing. This was precisely how I felt. I used to be completely different by race, pursuits and conduct. All the occasion attendants had been smoking and speaking about bikes. None of the conversational matters was of curiosity to me.
Moreover, I really feel very uncomfortable when individuals smoke round me. I discovered myself in a unhealthy scenario as a result of I didn’t use my automotive for the journey. I made a decision to let my good friend Annie know, I’m not having fun with the occasion and that I need to depart, however Annie has attended a number of African events with me and felt very a lot at house anytime she attends my events. I made a decision to remain and faux I’m not conscious of the happenings round me, and that labored for me for the three hours that I stayed at the occasion. This is what W.E.B. DuBois termed the double consciousness I made a decision to interact in conversations with anybody I discover and that labored for me. I began dialog with one of many bikers known as Ken, who was an ex-marine and had visited Africa offering safety for former President Clinton on his tour of Africa.
Ken offered the supply of dialog that made me felt at ease. He started by telling me how among the bikers behave and why they put up such behaviors. I discovered Ken an fascinating particular person to speak to. We talked about soccer, Africa, particularly his experiences in Ghana and the way he all the time needed to go to Ghana and work together with the individuals he met while there.
The occasion thought me a number of classes. Firstly, I noticed that, it’s not good to stereotype individuals. When I arrived at the occasion and greeted the few individuals at the doorway, I concluded that each one the attendants at the occasion are imply. This truly prevented me from interacting positively with them. It will not be good to perception in one thing and count on different individuals to adapt to these beliefs. Although, it’s not simple to wipe out prejudice and inaccurate stereotyping, it’s generally actually pointless. According to Snyder (1982), “when individuals first meet others they can not assist noticing sure extremely seen and distinctive traits: intercourse, race, bodily look, and the like”. Snyder continues that “regardless of individuals’s finest intentions, their preliminary impressions of others are formed by their assumptions about such characters”.
Moreover, it feels actually uncomfortable to be completely different in an surroundings you aren’t acquainted with. I discovered many of the attendants carrying related uniforms and have tattoos on their physique. They had been carrying related vests with related inscriptions of the bike membership on them, and virtually all of them had been smoking cigars and consuming closely. They additionally seem masculine and there have been solely few girls at the occasion. These made me actually uncomfortable and I remembered the recommendation from one among my colleagues at work to not attend the occasion. I felt ignored till I met Ken.
Furthermore, I felt misplaced as a result of music, bodily look, behavioral kinds, and the habits of the occasion attendants. The music was loud and the dancing seems very bodily to me. According to Johnson, in his article Privilege, Power, and Difference “People’s perceptions are tough to regulate, nevertheless they have a tendency to imagine that they’ll determine traits corresponding to race and gender just by wanting at somebody.”Johnson continues by saying generally these impressions are primarily based on blanket assumptions. I made a generalization about everybody who was at the occasion till, I met Ken who was good to me and made me really feel at house. He launched me to the president of the bike membership and jokingly stated, “I is likely to be the primary black particular person of their membership”.
In conclusion, variations make individuals make hasty generalizations about individuals. It is all the time higher to not stereotype individuals primarily based on info out there to you. Stereotyping individuals may cause hate. According to Martin Luther King Jr., hate is like an unchecked most cancers; it corrodes character and eats away its important unity. It can destroy one’s sense of values and objectivity. It also can trigger you to explain the attractive as ugly and the ugly as lovely, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.