She's from New Orleans like me and we went to college together. Real smart woman, almost as smart as me. She has placed herself in a position to earn a LOT of money one day due to studying hard and sticking with her career through stuff I probably couldn't have handled.
She's a cool chick.
Anyway, during her recent job search this friend of mine sent out resumes to folks detailing her classifications and whatnot. The resumes clearly listed her alma-mater as the wonderful Howard University, which to those of you who don't know is the preeminent HBCU in America. (Those of you who disagree can complain on your own blogs. Ha!)
Because Howard University is listed as her alma mater for her undergraduate and secondary degrees, my friend assumed that all potential employers would know she was black. Plus, she's got a black name. So, she expected that this would be a hindrance with some folks, and possibly a help with others. But, no matter what, she assumed folks would know what they were getting when they contacted her for an interview.
Y'all know assumptions are a fool.
Anyway, one older white gentleman calls my friend and decides he wants to talk to her about a position with his business. Not only is the man looking to hire an employee, but eventually he would like to make that person a full partner. He's also offering a very competitive salary.
So, my friend is ecstatic to hear from the man because she likes the idea of making money, and would like to do so pretty soon. She engages the man in conversation for at least an hour, and they discuss their common beliefs about their profession in detail. My friend thinks the interview is going extremely well and is starting to lose that sick feeling she's had since she started her job hunt.
Then it happens.
Out of the blue the man tells my friend something like this:
"Uh, I don't want you to get offended or think I'm a racist or anything, but I wanted to let you know that your not getting this job is not going to have anything to do with the fact that you're black and a female."
Of course my friend was shocked. So shocked she was pretty much speechless. After all, she and the man had not been discussing her race or gender during their hour long conversation. Furthermore, she had no idea the man had decided she wasn't getting the job because all indications were that her qualifications were on-point and her interview was going well. So, not only did the man find the most effed up way to let her know she wasn't getting hired, but he also did so in a way that would guarantee that she would be questioning the racial dynamics of the situation for weeks.
And then, a short while after getting off the phone with her, the man called back just to tell my friend that he wasn't a racist and he'd had a black person working in his office at one time, and currently had an Asian working there. Yes, he called and said that.
Not only did my friend waste her time talking to this guy on the phone, but thanks to his general asshatery (WNG) she can't go on any other interviews without wondering if her race or gender is causing her problems. She found herself analyzing her conversation with another potential employer because she wondered if he was being short with her because she was black or because he was just busy. She's wondering if she can get a fair shake in Louisiana in her field, or if she should just pack and move to another state.
All because of one conversation.
That's how powerful prejudice can be. I don't want to give racist too much credit, but to be able to effect somebody's life that much with a single comment is pretty diabolical. I'm pretty sure things will work out for my friend, but imagine all the extra stress she could have avoided in an already stressful job hunting endeavor if she could have avoided this gentleman's idiocy? How many years did this whole exercise shave off her life?
And that is the end of my tale.