Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A man named George

Today at work, I met a man named George. He was about my age, maybe a little older, and was looking for the book Gangsters of Harlem, which is what the movie American Gangster is based on. We were unable to find the book, but we did find another book he was looking for.

While searching for books, we got talking. I found out he was from Harlem, was just passing through town for the day and tomorrow was going to Dubai. He said he wanted
Gangsters of Harlem because he grew up a block away from where the story takes place and knows the family that the story is about.

I like to think I'm fairly progressive when it comes to racial issues. I believe I treat Blacks, Whites, Arabs, Asians, whomever with the same levels of respect and don't stereotype. Still, I have to say, I was surprised when George said he was from Harlem. Harlem is portrayed in films and is known in society as a rough neighborhood; the kind of place a white guy from the Midwest wouldn't want to go. I felt bad being taken back by this, because George was one of the nicest customers I've ever had; the opposite of what I would have thought someone from Harlem would be like. He was friendly (he introduced himself by name and shook my hand), was extremely understanding when I said we didn't have the book in stock and all around a great guy.

Like I said, I like to think I'm progressive when it comes to race and stereotypes. Today I realized that maybe I'm not as unbiased as I thought, or at least, not when it comes to regional stereotypes...either way, I'm really glad I met George.


Becky said...

I hope George has fun in Dubai, because it's a cool place. And I'm glad he was a pleasant guy--I think people are just who they are, no matter where they grow up. Some people have great lives and rotten personalities, and some people surprise you with how kind they are, despite their circumstances. But it's refreshing to meet people like George.

Anonymous said...

well...you should look up the song "everyones a little bit racist" from avenue Q...its very true in these situations...