After a few uneventful weeks, the Raptor comes storming back during an impromptu staff meeting. He is in an unusually good mood and goes off on several different tangents. Apparently his wife is out of town―perhaps the reason for his cheerfulness―and he will be coming in later in the mornings on account of dog duties.

Somehow we get on the topic of shaving and he casually mentions that I have such a dark 5 o’clock shadow that I look Middle Eastern. I laugh awkwardly as do my coworkers and I’m only able to say, “Wow, that’s a first.” Being from Western Europe, I assume the Raptor’s intention was to put me in my place as someone who, in his eyes, is from Eastern Europe.

For the record, Hungary is in Central Europe―geographically, culturally, and historically―unless you consider Asia beginning just beyond Romania. Not to mention the fact that Raptor grew up about a ten-hour drive from my hometown of Budapest. Lastly, if he was going for the ethnic angle―as in those dark, hairy Eastern Europeans―I actually have a lighter complexion than he does. I make a mental note to highlight this incident when I sit down with one of our ineffectual―I mean, highly productive and helpful―human resources professionals.

Raptor then proceeds to describe the upcoming company sales convention and how the Anglos are lame and the Hispanics are so lively and fun. I was not sure if we had been transported back to the 1950s since that was the last time that the term ‘Anglo’ was a widely used term for whites. But it is par for the course in 21st-century America where the white (for the time being) majority can be openly disparaged if mentioned in casual conversation while any non-white minority group is to be unquestioningly glorified. In the end, it was a typically useless meeting that took up 30 minutes of my day and another two hours to recover from.

 

This is a post in a series based on my time working at a Fortune 500 company. These posts are taken directly from a journal I decided to keep after witnessing numerous unbelievable and ridiculous incidents. All names have been changed to protect the privacy of the innocent―as well as the guilty. The head of my department is referred to as ‘Raptor,’ which was the nickname given to him by one of my coworkers. Last I checked, Raptor was still employed in the same role at this company.

Commentary