Whenever I apply for something online or over the phone, like a job or a school, the first thing I wonder when the communication ends, and ends well, is: “Oh, dear. Do they know I’m black?” I mean, did I type or speak too code-switched? I mean, maybe it’s just me, but…I don’t wake up black. I don’t yawn and roll out of my bed a fully-actualized, weight-of-history-and-slavery-and-disenfranchisement-and-oppression-and-racism’s-continuing-drain-on-American-society, black African-American. (That shit doesn’t happen till at least after I’ve brushed my teeth. And usually, not til I step out my front door.) So, will I go for the official interview and be greeted with wide, perplexed blue eyes because I’m just so darned—as my mother’s generation puts it—tall? Because it’s pretty much like I said: I’m not black sitting at home in bed. When I step out the door is a different story. One that starts and ends with my skin, as far as the world-at-large is concerned. Unsurprisingly, I tend to prefer phone interviews to in-person ones. Even if I have to ask myself that question: Do they know I’m black? And I always ask it. And a lot of times, on the heels of it: Do I?


Showing 2 comments
  • Dakota Lane

    Thank you for sharing. Courageous to share what goes on inside and outside in the world most white people would rather not see. Thank you and I pray our world some day will be free of such inequity and suffering, and I pray to not turn away.

  • Lindsey Rose

    Rachel, your story shakes me to the core. I will never be able to un-feel it. As a white woman, I’ve had to worry about a number of things when applying to a job or other situation, but I’ve never had to wonder if my skin color would disqualify me or would change how the organization/boss/contact would view me. There is something in your story that I can’t get over and I’ve been unable to control tears since I read it this morning. Perhaps this is not my place to share my thoughts on this, I’m not sure. I’ve worked for equality & an end to oppression in all forms my entire life. However, more recently I’ve been reacquainted with the real hideous depth of racism that permeates nearly every aspect of our culture. I see it as the basis for why we have most of the problems we do in this country & the world. Thank you for sharing so powerfully such a consistently traumatic experience, I admire you more than words can say. I promise to use my privilege to tear down racial prejudice anywhere and everywhere I can. Stay strong and beautiful, I pray we live to see a time when you can walk out the door or attend an interview without a single worry about skin color. And please keep writing, you rock at it! <3

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