Monday, March 30, 2009

Strong Black Women...

I drove over to my parents this morning.  It is a usual occurrence with me.  I get my daily allotment of Cokes and Diet Dr. Pepper.  Helen was sitting under the portico when I drove down the driveway.  I walked back around to say hello after I parked.

"How are you?" I asked as I sat down on the white bench she was sitting on.

"Rethinking my job," Helen said with a good natured smile. "My family is giving me a hard time because I am a black woman cooking and cleaning for a white man."

There was a pause in the conversation.  I didn't know what to say.

"I shouldn't have told you that," Helen said. "I'm sorry."

"I can see where it would cause trouble," I finally replied.

We got on the subject of Black America and how hopeful we both were for Obama to do great things.

"You like him?" Helen asked looking excited.

"I think he is the best thing that has happened politically in a LONG time," I replied.

"You know there is still racism in America," Helen told me. "I see it all the time."

I told Helen the story of how dad's mom always kept separate dishes and glasses for black people when they visited and came to eat.  If you knew my grandmother, then this was so out of character for her. 

"See?" Helen said. "It happens when you least expect it."

I left Helen to her thoughts thinking I should have said more to reassure her that things are better.  Times are changing.  We have a partially black man in the White House.  A beautiful black woman as first lady.  Black people have more opportunities than ever.  And most of all, I didn't want Helen to quit.  I love her so and she has meant so much to me these past few years she has worked for dad. 

14 comments:

CRUSTYBEEF said...

that's a tough situation to be in.
But in this economy there are so many that would give anything to have a job..Helen respects you and your family and that's fantastic that she realizes how fortunate she has to have a job.
I loved your answers that you gave her and I agree..this new change is a beautiful thing!

Happy Monday! :)

CRUSTYBEEF said...

P.s. I see it too (Racism) all sides..even from family members about the jewish faith..makes me sick

sigh..why can't we all just get along?

Portia said...

I hope she sticks around! And I always want to reassure people too, but sometimes, less is more. She knows you care, I'm sure, for it is clear way over here:)

becomingkate said...

I hope she stays too.

Kathy said...

Andrew, What a thoughtful and interesting posting! I agree with Helen, racism is alive and well, but I agree that things are getting better.

Dear Liza said...

I have to say that things are getting better too, but i wonder if we all think that because we are white? I have learned not to try and judge a situation unless I have walked in the shoes of those involved. I love Helen, just from reading about her from you, obviously. I hope she doesn't leave. Hugs, buddy. :)

(M)ary said...

Very interesting post.

I suppose in the future, it won't matter if the cooks are black or white or if the professional folk are black or white.

but right now, it is still awkward. i know at work, the majority of the cleaning and kitchen staff are minorities (mostly women). the majority of the doctors are white (men)

part of that has to be a result of racism, altho part of it may be just individual choices people make.
i firmly believe the world is changing for the better and that in America the doors are open for all people regardless of race or gender.

Cheryl said...

I'd hate for Helen to leave because of appearances, or what other people think. She's family.

Lena said...

I hope Helen doesn't leave either, she has been a good help to you. Interesting she felt so comfortable to talk to you about the issues.

Leann said...

It is unfortunate and sad that racism is alive and well in America. We are making progress and in the grand scheme of things it is happening fairly quickly. I'm sure for those affected it is a small consolation.

Marsha said...

On the subject of facebook notifications driving you insane....

go to the main log in page, at the top, on right click Settings. Then click the notifications tab. There is a list of things you can turn off so you don't receive them. It helped me.

anonymous said...

The oddest part of all is that those who are being racist in your scenario are Helen's relatives. That's the definition of irony.

电灯 said...

中国公文网 中国皮肤网 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 癌症康复网 工作总结 个人工作总结 半年工作总结 年终工作总结 单位工作总结 教师工作总结 教学工作总结 学校工作总结 德育工作总结 财务工作总结 医务工作总结 安全工作总结 乡镇工作总结 党员工作总结 团委工作总结 公司工作总结 实习工作总结 班主任工作总结 党支部工作总结 办公室工作总结 学生会工作总结 工作报告 政府报告 述职报告 述职述廉 考察报告 自查报告 情况报告 调研报告 调查报告 申请报告 辞职报告 实习报告 验收报告 评估报告 工作汇报 思想汇报 汇报材料 情况通报 情况汇报 心得体会 学习体会 工作体会 培训体会 读后感 领导讲话 庆典致辞 节日致辞 开业开幕 演讲稿 竞聘演讲 就职演讲 比赛演讲 征文演讲 节日演讲 演讲技巧 工作意见 活动策划 工作方案 整改方案 实施方案 企划文案 营销方案 培训方案 应急预案 规章制度 法律法规 事迹材料 先进事迹 个人事迹 申报材料 学习材料 考察材料 经验材料 交流材料 自我鉴定 工作计划 工作规划 年度工作计划 学校工作计划 个人工作计划 团委工作计划 工会工作计划 单位工作计划 党支部工作计划 民主生活会 入党志愿书 入党申请书 入团申请书 转正申请书 党性分析材料 先教活动 整改措施 剖析材料 公告通知 模板范例 贺电贺词 常用书信 合同范本 社交礼仪 法律文书 论文

Brad said...

Do you think she knows how well you think of her? I know things are quite different in the south from the rest of america especially when it comes to race relations. It might make her uncomfortable to know you love her, but knowing she's valued might mean a lot to her. - But maybe you tell her that all the time.