Let’s Discuss: More Than Awkward Silence

file000162092220I’m going to tell you what happened and I’m interested to hear what you think you might have done in the situation.

But beyond that, let’s discuss ANY situation where you’re “on the spot” and what do you do? How do we handle it?

So, let’s discuss:

I was at a local restaurant that is near-famous. It was a special treat to be there. Little Sir and I were offered a large table because no small tables were available and no one else was waiting.  Of course–as these things go– a larger family came in and clearly needed our table. AND a small table had become available. I asked the waitress if she’d like us to move. We had our drinks, but not our food.

She said no, absolutely not.

Which felt weird.

A bit later she came back and confirmed that she did not want us to move because she did not want to wait on the family that had come in. She then made a comment that made it 98% clear she didn’t want to serve the family because they were African American.

The only reason I can imagine she felt comfortable telling me this is because I am white.

But that doesn’t mean I go along with comments like that and I was really caught off guard. For one thing, I’m not used to running into that sort of thing. And another is because she was very Grandmotherly and especially kind to Little Sir and her comments about the other family were like seeing a vicious bunny.

You just don’t see that coming.

I have confronted racism before. Just a few weeks ago I made it clear I didn’t want to have a conversation because I felt it was racist. Years ago I yelled at another customer in a restaurant for being racist to an employee (that might have been over the top). I don’t just let things slide or pretend to go along. In high school, I scheduled a meeting with the principal to discuss my concerns about how the special needs students were being treated.

But- no doubt about it- I was flummoxed at breakfast when she said not to move tables. And fretted the whole meal.  I think she did too because she came back and tried to sort of undo it.

The family ended up being seated elsewhere and I’m sure enjoyed their meal (served by a different waitress).

And even now, I can tell you I was bothered, but I’m also not exactly sure what I should have done. Should we have moved anyway? Left? Are there just situations that we go through and they just don’t have a perfect response? They just stay awkward?

So…Let’s discuss.