For the most part, I try to avoid my coworkers. I work, part time, as a waitress at an Italian restaurant. So I’m around a lot of White men, young and old. We get along well. We’re cordial and even pleasant to one another. Still, there are just some things we just don’t have in common. As a Black woman, there are some experiences we just don’t share. And given the recent racial tensions in this country, I’m scared to have conversations that are more serious and in depth than the weather.
So we keep it light. We may occasionally joke around a bit but otherwise, it’s all surface-level interaction. And while there are some days where I wonder if I’m being too cold or distant, I actually like it. And a recent interaction proved that there is nothing wrong with that.
One day, they had a soccer game on in the back.
I, trying to do my job, was moving around the group of them huddled around the television.
I bumped one of my coworkers in the process. I guess that was when they noticed I was in the room.
“Aye Katrina. Learn soccer it’s a great sport.”
Listen, I know Americans don’t really do soccer. And the assumption might be that Black Americans aren’t all that into it either. But I don’t have to be an avid viewer of the sport to know soccer. I took gym in school. And ever year, from elementary up to our freshman year of high school, we spent weeks on the soccer unit. We learned the rules and played the game. And while I never played the sport by choice, I got it. Furthermore, I always root for the African teams in the World Cup.
But I didn’t say all of this to them. I’m not in the business of proving myself.
What I did do, as I was grabbing a plate to head back out to the restaurant floor, was scoff and state simply, “I know soccer” and sashayed away.
I don’t know if they assumed I didn’t know soccer because I was Black or because I was a woman. Either way, I just didn’t have time for the remark. What it did do was remind me to just keep to myself until I can save up enough money to get out of there.