Kathleen in VA Posted December 15, 2011 Share Posted December 15, 2011 I was in a thrift/antique store a while ago and got to chatting with one of the sales clerks who was also a reupholsterer while a friend purchased a loveseat and made arrangements to pick it up. I was with ds15, dd12 and dd19 at the time. The clerk, who happened to be a black man, and I hit it off as small talk goes. We got to laughing and kidding about how something on a nearby shelf (can't remember what it was now) was once owned by George Washington and then we got to talking about Mt. Vernon. It was just one of those delightful encounters you sometimes have with perfect strangers when you have to stand around and wait with nothing better to do.:) Later that day as we continued driving around (we were going to a bunch of yard sales) I said something to Ds15 about the conversation I had had with the clerk and ds couldn't remember who I was talking about. At first, I wanted to just say, "You know, the black man," since he was the only black man in the entire store, but for some reason I felt I should make an effort to describe him without referring to his skin color. I talked about the joking and the fact that he mentioned he was a reupholsterer and that he was standing behind the counter while we waited for our friend to complete her transaction, but ds just couldn't remember, so I ended up saying what first occurred to me to say. I've been wondering ever since if it is considered racist to describe someone in terms of their skin color - especially since it would have the easier thing to do and settled the matter quickly. Or am I just going over the top about trying not to offend people? Of course, I couldn't have offended the man in question - he wasn't there. But I was trying to subtly teach my son that describing people in other ways is preferable to resorting to their skin color first thing. I'm not sure why I felt that was something worth doing either. It just felt wrong to bring it up first without trying to describe him in other ways first. Ok, be gentle - I'm really trying to do the right thing here. But I've wondered about this for quite a long time and have finally worked up the nerve to ask. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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