I’m brown, glamorous, educated and wealthy.

SOFIA KHAN,
Allen, TX

People assume because I am a brown-skinned woman, I can’t afford luxury items or regular-priced items! I have heard so many putdowns and have been bossed around by strangers (even youngsters half my age) and passers by even when I am minding my own business. Usually I can extract that the people talking to me have less education than I do (I have earned a bachelors from Rice University and two masters degrees in business and law), they have no idea that I earned my first million dollars per year before I was 40, that I have been an entrepreneur, have owned three Jaguars plus Lexus and BMW, live in a mansion that has been paid off, can afford to shop wherever I want to including Cartier and Harry Winston, have lived around and traveled the world and consider myself to have good taste in clothing and style. But for some reason I am still considered poor and a slave by people I don’t know. I have been actually called a slave!

I could go on and on about all the insults, attitudes, putdowns and misconceptions I have experienced, even though I have also come across many respectful people with open minds as well. Is it that people are just insensitive and cannot see beyond their world that yes, people of a minority status can do very well in life and we are as gifted and talented as anyone else, or even more so? I’m baffled by such arrogance and narrow mindedness.

I have also noticed that white men and women will not help me as easily as others; I have noticed that when I worked in the corporate environment that my job was in their hands. If they wanted to get a friend of theirs to replace me, they’d make up some excuse to get rid of me and usually it was based on lies. Even when I outperformed other colleagues, I was given a worse review and those who evaluated me didn’t seem to have a conscience about it. I was always made to do more than my white coworkers. I never tolerated the behavior and confronted the behavior and the managers who acted this way. I realized I didn’t belong working underneath people who acted this way. When I had the opportunity to work with minorities and independently in my own company, I excelled and earned very well. Minorities gave me the opportunities and whites never let me soar.

English is my first language. I have been told I speak very good English. As though I shouldn’t be proficient! And I speak without an accent! These comments annoy me.

I am not Hispanic yet I have noticed that some whites have taken out their hatred towards Mexicans on me because of my skin color. I don’t think whites try to understand that the world consists of hundreds of countries, and people with brown skin aren’t all Mexican. I was taking a continuing education course at a local gun range, and the instructor was glaring at me hatefully the whole time. I don’t know if he thought I was a “terrorist” or a Mexican. But he hated me without even knowing me. After class, I approached him and told him I knew his brother and sister in law from high school. I tried to make sure he knew that I knew his family and grew up in the same town he had. After that he was all smiles and very friendly. But until that point, he had classified me as someone he wasn’t going to like.

In that same part of town in Cypress Texas, I went to the grocery store often while caregiving for my elderly father. I have been told, “Get out of my way.” I have been shown cheaper onions by another shopper, while picking out my own produce. I have heard people huffing behind me as I stopped for wine in the aisle, as though I am moving too slow and need to get out of their way. I have been asked to move by white shoppers, when shopping. One white casher carelessly used her foot to slide my seafood that she dropped, instead of picking it up with her hands, no apologies or any regard for my grocery item. I have been told what I can and cannot afford! It’s always insulting, never a nice thought by these people. I have always been courteous and polite, friendly and get along with others. But these strangers just continue to give me the impression about their prejudices.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris