Whaaaaat...the....FUCK? of the Day

(Thanks, Witchsistah)

What the fuck is this? What the fuck is this? Could someone please tell me what the fuck this is?
A few hours before the recent Rally to Restore Sanity, the general manager of a Hampton Inn in Washington, D.C. kicked me out of his hotel, forcing me to stand on the street to wait for my colleague in 39-degree weather.

The incident began when I arrived early for a breakfast meeting with a program officer from one of the major foundations that supports the nonprofit I run. We were in town for the Online News Association’s annual convention and wanted to catch up.

After looking around the lobby, I settled on a seat at a table where I could watch the elevators.

Right in front of me was an older white guy wearing a T-shirt with the word “eracism” emblazoned on the back. Given that the tenor of our national conversation these days has me increasingly fearful about where this country is heading, I was touched to see him making such a strong statement and got up to tell him so.

He was in town for the rally, and we discussed that and the general mood in the nation. When the conversation ran its course, I turned to return to my seat.

That’s when the general manager stopped me and asked if I was a guest at the hotel. I explained I was not but was there for a business meeting with a guest. “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel,” he said, leading me through the lobby and toward the doors.

I thought he had misunderstood, so I repeated that I was in fact there at the invitation of a hotel guest. “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel,” he repeated. Slowly, I began to realize that this was no case of “mistaken identity.”

The general manager apparently had deemed me so undesirable that he did not think I was fit to sit in the lobby of his Hampton Inn.

Somewhat disoriented, I managed to have the presence of mind to tell the front desk clerk to call my colleague and let him know that I would be unable to meet him in the lobby as planned because I was being escorted out of the hotel.

The general manager and I watched as she spoke into the phone. Clearly, I was there to meet a paying guest. But the general manager continued to repeat, “Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel.”

People have asked why I did not refuse to leave and then insist that he call the police.

I think that the truth is I was blindsided.

My professional life is all about working with the news media to ensure that all segments of our society are accurately and fairly portrayed. I often speak of the corrosive effects of skewed media images on our public policy and personal lives.

As a person of color in this country, I have many times felt as if I am under greater scrutiny, so I compensate and arm myself as best I can. I consciously try to act in a way that reassures those around me.

Taking a cue from my father, I try to dress as well as possible, almost as if I’m sending up a silent prayer that if I look like this, maybe you won’t treat me like that.

But walking into a hotel lobby a for a business meeting is such a mundane and common occurrence in my life that it never dawned on me to be on guard.

It wasn’t only the manager who blindsided me. Equally shocking was my own reaction.

We have programs that teach people how to talk across difference, including not internalizing another person’s negative reaction. Intellectually, I knew this had nothing to do with me. Yet all I felt was shame.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., was roundly criticized for screaming “you don’t know who you’re messing with,” according to a police report, as the Cambridge cop arrested him in his own home.

I wanted to shout the same thing, not as an arrogant assertion of my authority but as an anguished cry for recognition of our shared humanity.

“You don’t know who I am. I could be your mother, your sister, your cousin or your aunt. I am a fellow human, not something to be discarded on the street.”

I said none of that.

The closest I came was, “Why are you doing this to me? You know I am meeting someone here.” Even I could hear the weakness in my voice, further deepening my sense of humiliation. That was the only time the general manager deviated from his script., saying, “We have to protect our other guests. Ma’am, you’ll have to leave the hotel.”

I made one more lame attempt to assert myself and asked for his name. He thrust his card at me, opened the front door of the hotel and ushered me into the cold. The card identified him as Joseph Galvan, General Manager of Hampton Inn Washington DC Convention Center.
*blinks*

What...the...fuck?

Comments

  1. Saw this and wasn't surprised by the GM! I grew up in Louisiana. My interaction with the GM would have ended very differently and with the police. My threshold for that type of BS is non-existent!

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  2. I feel this lady. Again where is the NAACP or somebody?

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  3. Yeah, this "mistaking" random BW for prostitutes bull.

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  4. You really think that's it? Because I think it was more of an: "Oh...black woman...I'm bored...it's cold outside....

    "Let's see how big of a dick I can be."

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  5. Reason #41263125672 for me to stay where I am.

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  6. Someone is about to get a letter from me. It seems so useless, but I think his superiors should hear how dehumanizing that was from as many people as possible.

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  7. What. The. Fuck!? Man, I can't even fathom how hurtful and insulting this must have been for her. She's got more control than me though, cause I surely would have gotten ignant as hell after the third time he told me to leave and after I had politely told him I was there to see a guest.

    @Student:

    Again where is the NAACP or somebody?

    If someone has to wait for the NAACP to actually be relevant and helpful again, they're going to be waiting a looooooong time. The NAACP ain't what it used to be, Student, not by a long shot.

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  8. Note how some of the comments are trying to blame Dori Maynard for . . . something or other.

    /rolling eyes

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  9. How come the bitch working at the desk didn't say something? Like, I dunno...,"Hey boss, that's gonna be some mighty negative press you're courtin'. Not to mention, that's a hefty-lookin' lawsuit you're gettin' down on your knees and beggin' for...."

    'Cause I'd be taking some names and preppin' subpoenas - hear me?

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  10. how come 'mr eracism'-this stalwart fellow struggler-didn't say something?!

    many of you all would probably consider some of my personal views to be racist as hell...but i hope i'd never just stand by and watch while BW-or anyone, really-was harassed by an authority figure for NO REASON.

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  11. how come 'mr eracism'-this stalwart fellow struggler-didn't say something?!


    THIS is a good question and one that we have discussed at length here and other places. We've come up with the consensus that it's because White folks are pretty much full of shit.

    many of you all would probably consider some of my personal views to be racist as hell...but i hope i'd never just stand by and watch while BW-or anyone, really-was harassed by an authority figure for NO REASON.


    The thing is you, and other Whites, would figure there must be SOME reason even if the situation looked completely illogical and unprovoked. That supposition would keep you from intervening.

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  12. but i hope i'd never just stand by

    Why do you "hope" you'd intervene? Would you intervene or would you not intervene?

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  13. no one intervened because the majority of people in this country do not believe black women are worth protecting

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  14. @Ankh,

    He wouldn't. Judging from the shit he's posted at SWPD, he knows good and damn well he wouldn't. He'd have to see BW as HUMAN first.

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  15. i wrote 'i hope' cuz i HOPE i'd do the Right Thing...the right thing in this case being to go up to the manager and inquire as to why this woman is being singled out and ejected for not good reason.

    BUT...one doesnt always do right. for one thing, situations develop fast IRL, you know? this whole incident might have taken less than a minute. an intervener would need to percieve, assess, and decide to act, to possibly make a scene, to look stupid, etc, and then to actually physically DO IT. all in a very short period of time.

    example;

    i was once in line at the supermarket. the woman right in front of me-WW, incidentally-had a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. that was it. she looked poor and ill. the clerk handed her back her debit card saying it had no money available. so the women left w/out her bread and milk because she didnt have the $3 or whatever.

    i SHOULD HAVE told the clerk to put her things on my bill. i literally wouldnt have even noticed the extra cost, and she would have gotten her stuff. that wouldve been the RIGHT THING.

    but i didnt do that. i did nothing. if i'd had 10 more seconds to process things, i probably would have...was the woman's obvious poverty a factor in making me hesitate? could be. she was 'the Other'...would the womans race in this instance have the same effect? maybe so.

    but i'd HOPE not. i HOPE i'd be sharp enough to do Right.

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  16. but i didnt do that. i did nothing. if i'd had 10 more seconds to process things, i probably would have...was the woman's obvious poverty a factor in making me hesitate? could be. she was 'the Other'...would the womans race in this instance have the same effect? maybe so.

    Yet again, White folks thinking their intentions are the be-all and end-all of the world. Doesn't matter why you didn't help that woman, the result, she went home hungry, WHATEVER your excuse. Same thing with waving a gun around, playing with it. It goes off and someone is shot and killed as a result. As much as the perp wants to stress that they didn't MEAN to kill anyone, that victim is no less dead as a result.

    Forgot all this vain "hoping" you'd do something (which is only a figleaf to cover your non-intentions of doing shit). Practice actually doing shit. Practice going out of your way for folks. That'll make it easier to stand up for and to someone when you need to later on. Practice standing up to the bigots around you (and as Victoria's blog post eluciated, there are PLENTY around your average White person). Tell them you don't find their racist jokes funny. Tell them you disagree with their bigoted views about non-Whites. You don't have to have whole speech or harangue them. Simply say, "I don't find that funny." or "I disagree" and move on. Then, when something like the above happens, you're more likely to say something because it's become more natural for you to.

    That is if you're really interested about DOING something and not sitting on your ass letting PoC take all the hits while you still want to hold onto the title of Good White Person.

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  17. Forgot all this vain "hoping" you'd do something (which is only a figleaf to cover your non-intentions of doing shit). Practice actually doing shit. Practice going out of your way for folks. That'll make it easier to stand up for and to someone when you need to later on. Practice standing up to the bigots around you (and as Victoria's blog post eluciated, there are PLENTY around your average White person). Tell them you don't find their racist jokes funny. Tell them you disagree with their bigoted views about non-Whites. You don't have to have whole speech or harangue them. Simply say, "I don't find that funny." or "I disagree" and move on. Then, when something like the above happens, you're more likely to say something because it's become more natural for you to.

    That is if you're really interested about DOING something and not sitting on your ass letting PoC take all the hits while you still want to hold onto the title of Good White Person.


    I'm with Witchsistah on this one. Girl, thanks for breaking it down; I was wondering how I was going to respond that one.

    Practice really does make perfect. These sitches don't seem "fast" for me at all, but that's because of years and years of practice.

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  18. yep. agreed. training is key. but remember; the writer HERSELF was 'blindsided'. she did nothing either.

    but y'all are forgetting the initial question i asked; why did a white guy who was so incredibly anti-racist that he wears it on a t-shirt do nada when his actual real-life help couldve done some good?

    as for me....I'M NOT A DECLARED ANTI-RACIST! i'm basically just an educated, upper-middle class, middle-aged WM who's curious about a lot of things-race stuff being just one. i'm still in the process of forming my views; thus i read blogs like this one. but i couldnt pretend that i'm always going to toe the ant-racist line. i might. i might not.

    i've helped BP directly. i've helped WP. sometimes you get it right.

    so what i would or would not do is perhaps of interest...but not important.

    maybe 'eracism' guy didnt see her get ejected. but its funny that she doesnt mention it. for that matter, did the person she was waiting on, when called by the desk clerk say; 'the manager is throwing my friend out in the cold? for no reason, you say? ok, well thats fine...' why didnt HE raise hell?

    strange.

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  19. @Randy,

    And I said it was a good question and came up with the answer that we here figure it's because WP are pretty much full of shit. And Modest Goddess offered up a potential answer. We've also discussed so-called "good White folks" alarming ineffectuality in dismantling White supremacist racism a lot on this blog. Apparently, you haven't been paying much attention.

    Or else you're looking for another answer to your question. Well, you're obviously fishing for one. Since I suck as an angler why don't you just offer up the catch you're baiting for (I'm sure it has something to do with PoC being stupid to expect WP to get off their dead asses and do anything for us therefore we should just excuse them and tolerate racism towards us because nothing is gonna change, we're all a little racist, racism will be around in some form forever, blah, blah, blah).

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