Sunday, October 11, 2009

What would you say?

An African lady came into the post office yesterday to send some money to Zimbabwe via Western Union. She spoke English fluently, albeit in heavy African accent. I proceeded to serve her as I do any other persons, without commenting on her descent. Another customer nearby overheard us and remarked, "It's good to get out of there, isn't it?" She just smiled politely. "Where do you come from?" he asked. The African lady replied that she has lived in the UK for several years before coming to Australia recently. (Oops; we all immediately assumed she has just scrambled out of a hellhole, didn't we?)

I just wonder how she might have felt being asked those questions. Was she offended that somebody noticed she's African? Did she feel the questions had racial undertone? She must have been asked those questions a thousand times; did she mind talking about it for the 1001th time? Were the questions condescending? I don't know if she was even sensitive about the questions, but I thought it proper not to make any remark until or unless I knew her better. How would you feel if you were the African lady?

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