The Future of Diversity | The Walrus

diversity-image“When he stepped through the doors, though, the woman who worked there greeted him with “Uber Eats?” My friend doesn’t believe she was intentional in her racism;”

Source: The Future of Diversity | The Walrus

I’m not interested in attacking the author or their friend, but I do feel that this entire opinion piece was wrote on the grounds that there was actual proof of racism, instead of just an assumption.

Although I’m white, there have been occasions where I too have been asked by an anxious manager walking into a shop if I’m the delivery guy, or been stopped in the aisle of a retail establishment by a perplexed customer because I’m wearing a shirt that resembles the retail uniform.

Despite these examples, I chose not to take my story “to social media or demand an apology from the shop’s management.” But I am talking about my experience now where I know I will be understood: by people who been mistaken for being someone else.

Because let’s be honest here, this was really just a case of mistaken identity, and not an actual act of racism, as purported by the author and their friend.

Trust me, when I say I’ve seen racism in actual action. It was only a minor display, but it left an indelible mark of what it must be like being black in a major city like Toronto.

I was strolling along Bloor St. West with a bunch of my friends after a night of dancing. Further up the street we could see a young black man trying to hail one cab after another with no luck whatsoever. As we were walking by, he asked if we would mind standing with him for a moment while he tried to hail another cab.

When I asked why, he informed me that cabbies don’t like picking up black men after midnight because they’re afraid that there might be trouble, but didn’t have the same attitude towards white men.

True enough, within 30 seconds of standing with us, a cab did pull up beside us and he was able to jump in, much to the cabbie’s dismay before they drove off.

I agree that there is much that we as a society need to do to overcome racism and preconceived notions regarding identity, but let’s not do it through contrived narratives such as this particular example used in The Walrus, just to earn a few dollars.