You People”

When I was a senior at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty (read: when I had my head up my hard ass), I worked part time as a super­vi­sor in the MRC dorm cafe­te­ria. There was a time when I was hav­ing a dif­fi­cul­ty with three stu­dents. I have no idea what the dis­pute was but at one point one of them said some­thing that I found par­tic­u­lar­ly exas­per­at­ing and I said “You people!”

My choice of words was unfor­tu­nate, the three indi­vid­u­als involved were African-Amer­i­cans. They imme­di­ate­ly took excep­tion (and I can hard­ly blame them). There were two threads of con­ver­sa­tion that took place simul­ta­ne­ous­ly from that point.

One was:

You peo­ple, what do you mean, you people?!”

Stu­dents” I believe this was paired with a “duh” but not the kind of “duh” that was once hip and now passe. Just an invol­un­tary syllable.

The sec­ond was:

What are you doing, bring­ing race into this?”

I did­n’t bring race up. You are the one’s who brought race up!”

Although I had my head up my hard ass, I was hard­ly capa­ble of deceit and they prompt­ly per­ceived that I was com­plete­ly sin­cere when I said I meant stu­dents. The event end­ed uneventfully.

The new­ly elect­ed gov­er­nor of Ohio, John Kasich, recent­ly had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence. It seems Kasich is the first Ohio gov­er­nor in fifty years to put togeth­er a cab­i­net com­prised entire­ly of white peo­ple. When the Ohio Leg­isla­tive Black Cau­cus offered Kasich assis­tance in

find­ing qual­i­fied minor­i­ty appli­cants, Kasich told Turn­er, “I don’t need your peo­ple.

The gov­er­nor’s spokesperson:

What he meant was, “Your peo­ple are Democ­rats, we don’t need them on our cabinet”

Part of me says I have to give Kasich the ben­e­fit of the doubt giv­en my own expe­ri­ence. Part of me says “Yeah, riiiiight!”

You are wel­come to draw your own conclusions.

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