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A microaggression that I experienced was one that I observed happening to someone else. The microaggression occurred one day when I was at the Home Depot. I was looking at a couple of rugs and a man was standing next to me also looking at some of the same rugs. A woman who obviously worked there, due to her wearing an orange apron as all Home Depot employees are required to do, walked up and asked me and the man if we needed any help looking for anything, to which I replied that I did not. When she approached the man to ask him the same question he brushed her off. However when another employee walked by, a male, he quickly walked up to the man asking him for assistance in front of the female employee’s face. It wasn’t until later when talking to my daughter who works there that I found out the female employee was the head of that department.
It made me think to myself why that man automatically assumed that the female employee didn’t know anything about rugs or flooring? How did he know that the male employee knew more than she did? Was he embarrassed to be seen receiving help from a woman? All of these questions popped in my head when I thought back to that situation. Here we are in the year 2014 and yet sexism still exists. After the customer rejected the female employee’s help I could see in her face that he wasn’t the first male customer to assume that she was inadequate at her job. I felt very embarrassed for the man because he was obviously living in a past time where women were expected to only be knowledgeable in home good items and child rearing and seeing this woman working in a flooring department in a predominantly male-frequented retail store must have really struck a nerve with him. To prevent creating a scene by calling the man out on his ignorance I continued looking at the rugs.
I regret not having spoken up about the man’s sexist behavior because I feel that his behavior will only continue and he will continue to treat women he sees in any male-dominated environment with little to no respect. At least if I would have said something he would have known that no everyone agrees with his stance on things and he would think twice about what he is doing. All people are to be treated with respect no matter their sex, race, orientation, religion or class that without a doubt should be an unspoken given. But because everyone is different and has had different upbringings and experiences in life, some must be taught the art of having tolerance.
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