We have one customer at my job who says... very strange "complimentary" things to the men of color who work there.

Specifically to the men, too; she is rather cold to me when I have to speak with her and she ignores the other employees she interacts with (most of whom are women of color). She is an older white woman and comes in regularly.

A while ago, I overheard her talking to one of my guys at the counter and she asked how he spelled his name, and he told her, but then she told him that she always got confused about his name. "I keep thinking your name is Dwayne because you are a big, beautiful black man!" she laughed. She didn't notice how everyone's eyebrows shot up at that, or how a couple people had to run into the warehouse to crack the fuck up.

She came in again on Monday and my work bff (he is Samoan) helped her load her freight. He stormed back into the office when he was done and said, "roma. That old lady is racist." I asked what happened and he told me that they were chatting about how their weekends were when he mentioned to her that he was coaching football all weekend. She asked, American football or soccer? And he told her American football. She then explained to him that she only asked because he "looks like" he's from "one of those countries that loves to play soccer!" At which point he went off on her about how he's from Hawai'i and is 100% American, thank you very much, goodbye!

I don't know what her reaction to that was but with her history I'm sure she's found a new brown guy to crush on.

I hate hearing that this kind of shit happens to my co-workers because I experience it all the time, but I also don't know what I can do about it (if anything) because these people are customers and if I say anything negative to them my (white, clueless, also kinda racist boss) will jump my ass for being rude.

Advertisement

I will never understand people like this customer, though. Yes, you have "observed" that the person you are talking to is not white — but you are not going to gain any PoC cookies by saying things that basically boil down to, "OMG YOU'RE NOT WHITE! THAT'S SO COOL! I LOVE BLACK/BROWN PEOPLE AND I WILL DEMONSTRATE MY LOVE BY TELLING YOU HOW MUCH I KNOW ABOUT YOU PEOPLE!"

Not a good look, white people. If this is some well-intentioned method to "connect" with us, you're hella doing it wrong.

And BTW, where are YOU from?