Thursday, January 24, 2008

Be like a duck, and let it roll off your back!

Since last week, I’ve been feeling some sort of way about the freelance comptroller working at my organization for the past few weeks. She’s not a fulltime employee, and probably won’t be spending much more time with us once our annual audit is complete.

My ill feelings toward her started when she approached me about a cash payment for a rental of our facilities last year. In addition to my programming responsibilities, I manage the rental of our space and my duties include negotiating and collecting the rental fees.

For the rental in question, a young, Black single father, rented the space to present a play and panel discussion regarding single fathers traversing the family court system. This guy is just a regular Joe trying to find a way to help young men be better fathers. He worked hard to meet the fees for producing his activities in our space and yes, paid the fees in multiple cash increments. I meticulously recorded his payments and his event went off without a hitch.

Well when Little Miss Bean Counter asked me to sit down with her and review the multiple receipts for his cash payments, she offhandedly asked (in a joking tone), if this gentleman had paid the fees from his drug corner dealings. My demeanor changed immediately and I let her know how much I didn’t appreciate what she was inferring. She apologized, but didn’t seem to understand what I found to be so offensive and I haven’t been able to let this go.

I know I work in an alternative type of environment, and to a certain degree I’m insulated because it’s a small, non-profit arts organization, where staff and board of like-minded folks surround me. But this woman’s comments hit me like a slap in the face and it’s reminded me that my situation is the exception and not the rule. I should also mention that other staff members heard our exchange and did their best to diffuse the tension between us, but they too have seemed to cool to her daily attempts to engage folks in conversation.

I’m not excusing her, but I do wish I could evolve into the type of person where this sort of exchange could just roll off my back. I mean--- DAMN, I made my point, said my piece, she apologized, but still I give this woman shade. I know what her comments and insensitivity says about her, but what does my still cool demeanor and inability to forgive say about me?


Nerd Girl said...

"but what does my still cool demeanor and inability to forgive say about me?"

I think it says you're human.

An old coworker called me yesterday to tell me that my former boss (the one that fired me) is now in hot water because of problems with the grant that I repeatedly warned her about. She dismissed my concerns, labeled me a trouble maker, and eventually fired me. I thought I was over it, thought I'd forgiven her - and on most levels, I think I have. But. I cannot deny that I felt downright joyful when I heard that her disregarding my heedings had come back to bite her.

I think what's probably bothering you the most is the fact that she doesn't "get it." Hopefully, one day she will.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Mango Mama,

I think that when things stay with us there is usually a reason. I think this woman's statement was outrageous. Is a supervisor aware of what she said?

I certainly wouldn't want a person like that in my work place, no matter how short their visits might be.

Attitudes can be like viruses, left unchecked they can spread, especially bad or racist attitudes.

jillybean said...

Okay..I love your Philly opening about "feeling some sort of way." I was waiting for you to say, "This jawn was talking out of the side of her neck!"

Seriously, I think you did right by checking her. Her apology was made because she realized that she offended you. Not because of the comment that she made. You still give her shade because she hasn't checked herself.

She hasn't changed her attitude, thoughts or comments about Black men...Black women, or any other person of color, or different religion, or sexual orientation. She just doesn't share them around you or the people at the P.B.

She hurt you. Didn't she realize that you came from a Black man...married a Black man...birthed a Black man...are related to Black men...and they don't fit HER STEREOTYPE. When she made her flippant, derrogatory, stereotypical comment, she didn't realize/recognize that you are a part of those Black men and they are a part of you. That is hurtful and it's difficult to get over hurt.

In the midst of it dealt with the problem with dignity and grace.


the prisoner's wife said...

lol @Jillybean...i thought i was the only one who caught that Philly-bread comment. anywho...

i don't think you have to welcome her back into the fold just because she apologized. she was offensive and doesn't really deserve to get a pass on this one. just because you (may) have forgiven her, doesn't mean you have to forget what she said.

keep giving her