I’m sorry I’m staring at you.

Jessica Flake,
Amelia, OH

I work as a demo’s assistant at an international grocery store which will not be named for advertising purposes. Being in Demo’s means I make samples for people to try of various products that we want to sell. I have been called various ‘slurs’ by some people of color in the past (mainly cracker, because I often work in the cheese department) and this has lead to my thinking in overdrive when it comes to race at work. If two people are coming at me and I call to one first instead of the other, have I done that because the first person was closer to me than the second, or because the first person was white and the second was a person of color? This leads to my constant hyper-awareness of the customers that walk past that may be a different race than my own, and I try to call out to them but then how do I know that I’m giving them more attention without meaning to? Thus, my indecisive glances that would easily be perceived as obsessive staring if I didn’t try to occupy myself in other ways.


Tweets by Michele Norris