I'm not a shopper.
My mom, however, loves it when I say to her, "I need a new outfit for a presentation," because she knows I'm ready to spend some money. She LOVES helping me spend my money. 😘
Of course, we have to go to Macy's, because they have "quality clothing" there. We parked, we started walking to the door, and there was a woman far ahead of us walking in, as well. I loved her pants! They were so feminine and summer-y! Suddenly, I knew what I wanted to look for.
When we got in, the woman was there - so I took a chance. I came around to her side, noting that she is probably my age or older, and Asian. I started, "Excuse me, but I love your pants! Can I ask you - where did you get them?"
She responded, "Yes, yes. Over there," pointing ahead. REALLY?! What?! It can't be that easy!
My assumptions kicked in, and I hated myself for it as the excitement deflated out of me. I assumed she didn't know much English, as her accent was heavy and she spoke slowly. I thought that she's probably just saying the pants are "over there" in the store. My smile must have faded, but I thanked her and started walking in the direction she pointed, giving up hope of finding them here.
I FOUND THEM. Right away. I found the pants she was wearing. She must have followed me, because suddenly she was there. She had a smile on her face as she saw my excitement return, and she said, "Yes, that's them. I bought them just yesterday!"
My mom and I told her how they look great on her and that we'd definitely try them on.
I've sat on this for a day (yes, I actually saw these pants yesterday - this blog is for our little stories!), and realized something -- I was with my mom.
My mom was born in 1943. My mom's father (Italian - his mom brought him to the US when he was a child) would not speak to anyone of color. Even when I was a teen, Mom had a story of how Papa wouldn't talk with the man who came to fix something in the house. Because he was black.
My mom has many biases that she's shared with us through the years. Her biases may have become mine at times. I went right into assumption mode when the stranger responded to me yesterday.
The rest of the shopping (which was very fruitful, I might add - and of course EVERYTHING was on sale...) went well. I tried to smile at as many people as I could, and I struck up conversation when there was an opportunity.
Writing these small stories has made me notice more of my assumptions and biases. It's about time.
P.S. You wanna see the pants? Come to the Building Learning Communities conference - I'll wear them two Thursdays from today. 😉
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