I pulled into a fast food restaurant to use the restroom.
As I entered I noticed there was some sort of altercation taking place.
I hung to the side to observe and see what was going on.
I quickly realized that a white man was yelling racial insults at the Hispanic man behind the counter.
Apparently he had been waiting 15 minutes for his food.
I’m not really sure why he was in such a hurry.
He clearly had acquired enough fat reserves to survive without food for the next several months.
Making matters more interesting, a black woman was yelling at the white man saying…
“It’s his first day. Give him a chance.”
The man said..
“All you niggers and wetbacks better stick together, because Trump is going to round up all of you.”
The black lady got in his face and stated the obvious..
“You’re a racist!!”
“I’m not a racist. I just don’t see why they only hired one Mexican. I’m sure he has twenty brothers and sisters that live in his house. Why doesn’t he bring a few of em to work with him? I’ll tell you why, because they’re lazy!!”
The lobby was absolutely full and everyone was feeling uncomfortable and looking down at their phones.
I thought about engaging him verbally.
It would have been easy to make him look foolish in front of the crowd, but I realized that this was just my ego talking. I was angry so I wanted to humiliate him. Everyone would have laughed at him and cheered me on, but I’ve done things like this before and often times it has resulted in me and the person I was humiliating coming to blows. On a handful of occasions I have even had the person I was publicly shaming pull out a weapon.
I imagined myself attacking his logical fallacy by saying something like..
“So Mexicans are ‘too lazy’ to work, but you are saying that the problem with this situation is that the restaurant needs to hire MORE Mexicans. So in effect you are saying that this man is doing the work of several people, but not to your satisfaction. I’m confused. Are Mexicans lazy or is the place understaffed? Because you seem to be making both arguments simultaneously and both can’t be true in this case, so pick one.”
This was a bad idea.
The racist would have just been confused and when people get confused in these situations, they often lash out.
If I took this path, I would be engaging in self-deception, as my real goal would have been to make him look foolish and inferior so that when he lashed out at me I could have knocked him out and everyone would have said that it was self-defense and thereby justified.
I would have felt like the big hero for a few minutes (unless I got shot) until the police came. Then I would have possibly been taken unto custody. How embarrassing for me to have to call my family and explain to them how I can’t even be trusted to use the restroom without finding my way into a jail cell. I could tell them how I was just defending the Hispanic man’s honor, but they know me all too well.
They would know that I had fallen back on old patterns and that I had let this tiny excuse for a man sidetrack me and now we would have to come up with money to pay legal fees and that this would undoubtedly prohibit us from doing other things that we wanted to do.
Engaging the man verbally was a ridiculous idea and violence is rarely an option and certainly was not required in this situation.
I’m too aware of my own motives and manipulations to engage in such tactics.
Still, I wanted to do something to protect the man behind the register.
I felt really sad for him.
Imagine starting a new job, using a second language, making garbage pay, only to be treated this way by entitled people.
I simply could not stand by without doing something to protect the man.
So I did what everyone else was doing, I pulled out my phone.
But instead of using it to distract myself from the situation, I started making a video of the racist man.
“You aren’t taking MY picture are you?”
“No. I’m making a video. Carry on as you were.”
But of course he didn’t carry on as he was.
Suddenly he was overwhelmed with the realization that the whole world was watching him.
He went completely silent and became kind of fidgety.
The woman next to me said..
“That’s a great idea!” and started filming him too.
Soon others joined in and the man felt scared and muttered…
“You people are the REAL racists.” as he hurried out the door.
After the man left I spoke to the black lady and thanked her for standing up for the Hispanic man. I tried to give her some ideas for how she might do this more peacefully in the future, but she wasn’t having any of my approach.
“He’s lucky he left when he did, because I was about to pick up that wet floor sign and beat him down with it.”.
Everyone else was at the counter telling the Hispanic man that he was doing a great job on his first day.
I wasn’t done.
I watched the man as he crossed the parking lot and got into his work van.
It had the company phone number on it.
I called and asked to be transferred to the person in charge.
I explained to them what had happened and told them that I would upload the video of the man so they could see who was making their company look bad.
His boss said..
“No need for that. I know exactly who it is. Rest assured this is the last straw with this guy. This isn’t his first complaint.”
So I guess he arrived back to his job only to be told that he no longer had one.
Maybe he can apply at the fast food restaurant.
They seemed to be a little understaffed.