5 Aug 2013

An illustration of socialization

Young and Dangerous
Here is a story to illustrate last week's concept of socialization.

I am an owner of a start-up and every month I have to go to the bank to deposit my earnings, which happens to be mostly cash. But this one time (maybe my fifth or sixth time going to that back), the teller, who was a middle aged white lady, was very suspicious with me and kept asking me personal questions and very specific questions about my business, and even though I cheerfully answered them, she made me feel very uncomfortable because I knew in the back of my mind that she was only hassling me because I was young, didn't dress like a businessman and Asian (this feeling is referred to as double consciousness, but we will explore this further later on).
She made me feel as if I was doing something illegal like I was laundering money. Following that occurrence,  every time that I went back to that bank, I would A) subconsciously hope I wouldn't receive her as my teller, and B) consciously make an effort to have at least one cheque to deposit along with the cash, so that the tellers wouldn't be wary of me because I didn't want to feel that awful feeling again (a behavior of the "Me").

And if you're upset with this woman, don't be. I was displeased with her for a little bit after the incident but soon came to realize that her prejudice beliefs are an outcome of her socialization. She was probably raised in a community -- the people she grew up around, the people she lives around today, and what the media has implanted in her head -- where young Asians who looked a certain way and carried a thick envelope of cash were most likely into illegal activities, and depositing it into a small business account was a way to "wash" the money. This definitely does happen, but it is not a valid reason to profile every Asian who looks like a "thug" as a criminal.

But who really knows what was going through her mind when I said hello and asked her to deposit an envelope full of cash. Maybe she 's nosey with everyone she services.

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1 comment:

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