“I’m sorry, did you say you worked for the…?”
An arched eyebrow, a quizzical look, a quick reappraisal of the dreadlocks, the accent (could she be American? perhaps Welsh?), the attitude, the general foreign-ness.
And so on, and such like.
It’s not that I’m the only black person in the building, at these conferences I attend, or the events I often cover. It’s just that I’m often the only one not waiting tables, or collecting coats, or generally clearing up the detritus of the Establishment.
Surprise surprise, for I am unaccountably articulate, and bright and clean, and I work in the very heart of a City where “diversity” does not quite look like me.
“So are you going home to Jamaica for the holiday?”
“I’ve never been to Jamaica, but I am looking forward to going back to Trinidad.”
Smile brightly, look them right in the eye.
“So, what do you speak in the Caribbean? African?”
But sometimes you have to blink.