Yesterday a really nice family came into the store who also happened to be black. We chit chatted a bit at the front about some of our summer furniture before I asked them what brought them to the store. The woman mentioned she was just looking for some candles, so I pointed out the fragrance of the month (25% off), and then sent her to the wall of candles with the rest of the scents. As we parted, I happened to walk past our display of watermelon candles. Of course, the first thing I thought was “Oh, I should let her know that these are on 20% off as well,” so I picked up one of them to walk over and tell her. But then I froze with panic and indecision: going out of my way to offer watermelon candles to the black family? Is that questionable? I felt like I was being honestly helpful, showing her the newest candles, but then I worried it would be misconstrued as racism by them. Ultimately, I put the candle down and went to hide in the dishes section. Then I thought about the whole situation later: by NOT showing them the candles to avoid looking like a racist, I was totally racist.
Why is everyone so sensitive? I didn’t think of that family any differently until I started to OVER think the situation. Given the evidence, I would recommend that the way to solve the race problem is not to think too much about it. But I still don’t think there are many people (in Saskatoon, at least) that wouldn’t notice race right off the bat. If we suggested to the older generations to just go with their gut when dealing with minorities, I think that would cause a lot of problems. In my case though, I need to think LESS about how I am interacting with people, since I don’t get concerned about what I say or do until I really start to analyze the situation. And when you’re trying to sell people candles and pillows for 8 hours straight, there’s not much else to do BUT think and analyze situations.