Yesterday I ate a donburi rice bowl at my desk during lunch time. One of my bosses (I have over twenty of them) walked past my desk and commented that my Chinese food looked delicious. Now this particular boss happens to be the kindest man. He knows I can be a little quirky and kind of odd, yet he appreciates me in spite of it all. This is why he is one of my favorite people in the office.
So when I scolded him for racially profiling my food, he did this half snort, half laugh at me. He then turned on his heels and playfully asked how commenting on my lunch would be racially charging in any situation. I asked him why he assumed it was Chinese. Was it because of the rice? The chopsticks? I told him that my food would prefer not to be lumped into one category or defined in any way.
Two days later the same boss hollers to all of us in marketing that he is in dire need of help with the printer. He steps out of his office and starts ranting about how the Chinese paper is giving him grief. He can’t seem to get his document printed correctly and it’s causing him all sorts of stress.
One of my co-workers, who is waaay more helpful than I thought of being, runs to his aid to help him reconfigure his printer settings while I just keep scolding him that it’s unfair to label the paper as Chinese. I suppose it could be Asian, but still, that’s unjustly racially profiling something. I went on to explain that when I look at paper, I don’t see its color or creed, I just see it as a blank slate.
This boss shouted out to me without even turning to face me, “Jen, just trust me. It’s Chinese paper. It’s measurements on the document settings read 8.25x11 inches instead of 8.5x11 inches!”
Not to be outdone, I playfully shout back, “Just because it’s a quarter of an inch shorter doesn’t necessarily mean it’s Chinese, or even Asian for that matter. I’m Caucasian and some folks in my family are small. I think you’re passing some pretty harsh judgement there!”
I hear a loud sigh come from his office. I'm positive he's now rolling his eyes at me.
Moments later he shouts, “Jen, would you mind grabbing my Chinese paper off the printer?”
“Not until you acknowledge it just as plain paper and not classify it into one race!”
Loud, defeated sigh. “Fine.”
So, I walk over to the printer to pick up the very piece of paper that was giving this boss so much trouble. As I walk to his office, I turn the sheet over to get a better look. In large letters, printed across the top read OFFICIAL DOCUMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHINESE CONSULATE.
It seems my boss is taking a trip to Beijing in a few months.
This, my friends, is precisely why I am not to be promoted any time soon.