So this morning I started writing some stupid bit of fiction and then realised it was a little more serious than I wanted to write and also perhaps symbolically reflective of what I want to write about, which is what I’m now going to write about.
Before anyone says anything, yes I’m aware that this is not a singular issue. No “what about” stuff please; it’s often a waste of time that only serves to take focus away from what is being discussed at the time.
Also, I’m aware that this isn’t reflective of all people. This isn’t about all people.
So working in customer service is a tough endeavour. Sometimes it’s easy, but it’s tough. Whatever. Get over how hard it is, etc. etc. I would love to. I’d love to be able to push all the shit from the general public that I have to deal with aside and let it all be water off a duck’s back at the end of every day. I’d also much prefer to go work somewhere else, or – dare I even suggest – make money from my “creative” endeavours that I promote here on a semi-regular basis and hopefully position myself so I’m not constantly fighting off a steadily-increasing level of burnout brought on by dealing with assholes deciding it’s a good idea to shit on people for no reason whilst trying to work on the constant improvement of my so-called artistry. However, I don’t have much choice in the matter at the current moment (though of course I am always trying) and as many would feel so rightfully inclined to point out, no one owes me shit – something of which I might just agree with – so I make do how I can.
Ignoring all the stuff I deal with in customer service is getting more difficult; in general there’s only so much sustained abuse someone can take before it starts affecting them, but I still try. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t write about as I don’t feel like making Stupidity Hole any more angry than it already is. Also, writing about people being ineffably horrible to people over the phone for no reason gets tiring.
What’s even more tiring is having to deal with customers often audibly grimacing once they understand your name once you’ve repeated it enough times, then talking to you as though you don’t understand the language that you are both speaking with clarity, even though it would be apparent that you’re speaking it just as well as them, if not better.
It’s almost as bad as having people talk slowly to you whilst taking on a patronising tone whilst also using your name in nearly every sentence they speak as though they’re trying to do some fucking power play that you have no choice but to sit through because technically the customer isn’t being a direct asshole and you need the job.
That is almost as bad as those who ask you where you’re from and you tell them, but as that’s not good enough ask either where you’re really from (to be fair, “really” is not always with emphasis) or what you’re background is, to which you either tell them or advise that you’re not comfortable with the question which, instead of the customer backing down, decides instead to put their back up against a wall and tell you about how they’re not racist and they just wanted to know, then proceed to attempt to make sly, shitty off-hand remarks about your character throughout the rest of the call. Thankfully this is rare, but if anyone reading this does this, I have to let you know something:
Your remarks are just shitty. There’s nothing sly or clever about telling someone they don’t like to have fun or that they’re miserable because they weren’t comfortable with a line of questioning that, quite frankly, you’re not entitled to receiving an answer to due to it being none of your fucking business.
These are almost as bad as being told to learn how to speak English and learn how to do your job.
It’s bad enough that every day I do customer service I have to deal with customers treating me differently once they realise that my name isn’t the English name they thought it was; never mind the fact that my name is used in the title of one of the books of The Bible (for those that know my name, please don’t use it wherever I post or comment as I’d much prefer to preserve my illusion of anonymity).
It’s frustrating that I have to deal with people getting annoyed that I don’t feel comfortable answering “Where are you from?”, regardless of their announced reasoning. Despite it being (relatively) uncommon, it’s still something that frustrates me.
I was born in Australia. I learned how to speak English. I wish I learned how to speak my mother’s tongue when I was growing up, but I didn’t so I’m trying to learn now. I like to believe that, based on the interactions I have with many of the customers I have the absolute joy and pleasure of tolerating, that my comprehension of English is exemplary. I don’t know if it is, but that’s what I like to believe considering I’ve now been learning and speaking the language on an almost-daily basis for most of my life. You’ll forgive me then if I find that the phrase “Learn how to speak English” often comes from racists being racist more often that it doesn’t.
If I’d only dealt with this once in my life (among other things that I won’t get into here), then I don’t know what I’d do. I know I’d be miffed and I’d think about it as that kind of shit should not be tolerated by anyone. I also know I’d still have my tolerance for racism at roughly zero, and I know that I’d keep doing what I can to learn about being a better person, but outside of all of that, I don’t know. Maybe I’d be less angry and more ignorant and thus do less about the issue than the little that I do now. However, this isn’t a one time thing and I doubt that it’ll ever end in my lifetime.
When you’re dealing with racism, often it seems that you’re expected to be “tough” about it (and quite a few people are), but not everyone can be tough all the time. Admittedly I’ve gotten a pretty lucky run in that I’ve had to take so much less crap from the general public (both at and away from work) than people I know, have known and will know on both a professional and personal level. It’d still be nice for both myself and plenty of others if that we didn’t have to deal with any level of racism based on our name or appearance, or what people perceive as improper English despite it being apparent that our English is more than proper. I’m sorry my not speaking with a thick Australian accent is a bad thing, but I digress.
When it comes to racism, despite how casually cavalier someone might think they’re being, often the case is that someone that stuff is directed to then has to deal with it in some way. It doesn’t disappear. However, there’s a simple solution to this:
Start learning and stop being racist.
Also, don’t be fucking surprised, annoyed and start saying racist shit if you don’t get what you want. You can go take your malignant shit elsewhere and fucking bury it in the necropolis where those shitty views you seem to desperately cling to belong.