Friday, February 3

Appearance and Perception

I see myself in the mirror everyday, right? And I don't think anything of it but I've had some comments recently that make me wonder what people see.

Setup: Bookstore in a predominantly (almost exclusively) white, upper middle-class part of Nashville. I am a Black man, both parents and all four grandparents were black. I was born and raised in Nashville but most of that education was in a predominantly white private school environment.

A couple of weeks ago a woman (white, probably 60) was looking for something...I helped her and while we were looking she asked if I was Canadian...Canadian? I've barely been north of Chicago! She said something in my speech pattern sounded like someone she knew from Canada.

More recently I had a customer, another woman (black, probably 70) who was checking out and she asked me if I was, through the years I have come to expect ethnicity and locale mistakes from white folks but I never expected anything like that to come from a black person. God knows I wish I looked Hawaiian (of course, I automatically think of Tia Carrere).

Anyway, I just find things like that interesting...what did this woman see that made her think I was Hawaiian?

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