I have the pleasure of knowing someone who went to a furniture store not long ago. Let’s call his name Joseph and the store, Mr. Charlie’s Furniture. Joseph is a Black male. He was searching for a filing cabinet for his office. As he was walking around the store, he overheard a conversation between two men, one Asian and the other Black. They were negotiating the price of an item. It was an interesting and happy exchange. The Asian gentlemen said, “OK, how about $200?”. The Black gentleman paused, and responded, “how about $185?” And so on and so forth. They then decided to toss a coin. The winner would get his stated price. The coin was tossed up, down it came on heads. The winner called heads.
Then the owner walked over to Joseph and said, “Hello sir, how can I help you?” Joseph said, “Oh, I thought you were the customer!” The gentleman responded humbly, “No sir, I’m the owner!” It was the Black man. Joseph immediately understood how that sounded and tried to recant, but did a very poor job of it.
Joseph’s response to this Black store owner has puzzled me. I have not had a chance to share this story with my professors. Do Black people have an internal belief that when out shopping that we assume that the businesses are owned by someone other than a Black person? I’m just thinking out loud. Period, Case-Closed!