Underhanded racism at museum - who to report to?(17 Posts)
Where would I report an underhanded racial encounter?
I took DD1 and DD2 to a local museum, when we got there was a family fun day on at the square of the museum, the volunteers of the museum were manning the rides.
We decided to go on the rides first, most were old fashioned type (think wooden, handmade). A man was that appeared friendly and openly chatty with everyone else was unusually hostile with me when I was getting the kids onto the ride - a sort of swing sleigh.
I turned around and made a joke to him about the ride but got another blank response. I stepped back and noticed how every family, or individual with children appeared, how this man would strike up conversation with anyone and everyone, he would carry on open ended statements, joke about - help parents with their kids even joke around picking different children up.
I then thought how I could strike up conversation to see if he was being personally off. I asked him if the other ride is free too or if you had to pay, I made an effort to smile and be open. However he was closed off and spoke as though he was very uncomfortable.
I took a closer look and noticed all the people he was going out of his way to be welcoming to all had one thing in common - they were white.
I noticed how I wasn’t offered any help when struggling to get my children out of the ride, unlike everyone else.
I noticed other families from a distance come and go which were Chinese, Asian, though not many - and they were not getting this mans ‘full attention’ shall we say.
I don’t know who to complain to but I feel disgusted. It was the passive aggressive way in which it was delivered, as though I was a third class citizen and then it all made sense that it could only be one thing.
I don’t want to complain to the museum because I think it’s the type of thing to get swept under. I don’t want to leave a bad review because it’s a great museum, but underfunded and ran by volunteers - I’d hate a bad review to reflect so badly on others.
I don’t know if contacting a higher body be worthwhile, as there is no real evidence to produce and it was so underhanded, it’s his word against mine.
But I don’t know where to turn to. Why volunteer for something knowing you would come into contact with so many different ethnicities?? Saddened by it all.
Contact the museum. As a former (national) museum employee I can assure you they take these things very seriously. Whether he was paid staff or a volunteer he is representing the museum and they have a right to know what form that representation is taking.
I'm sorry you had to deal with this, what despicable behaviour.
I think in this case all you can do is speak to people above his head and hope it makes a difference.
Like you said, there's no real evidence so there would be no body which would be able to take on a case like that.
I'm sorry you had to experience this
Thank you so much for your replies, I’ve been getting in quite a tizz over it all day. It is encouraging to hear that reporting to the museum is the way forward.
Im just wondering if I would be able to report this anonymously? My DD2 in particular loves this museum and we go there more often than others as it is local and specialises in a niche which she is very into.
I am really concerned that if word got around that I was ‘that woman’ it would make for an uncomfortable future, I would hate to feel as though I’d need to avoid visiting as DD2 is so fond of the place. I noticed how comfortable the rude man was with all the staff and volunteers, and they were with him.
I think you could report anonymously but it would add greater weight if you were not anonymous( though I understand the reasons why).
These organisations need to be accountable and have a vigorous assessment of employees, volunteers or otherwise.
I have been subject to racism that I could not prove...subltle change in attitude and behaviour for no good reason. Leaves a sick feeling.
You may not be the only person to complain, several complaints may have some traction. Don't remain silent, why on earth should YOU feel unable to go somewhere because you raised an issue with how someone else treated you?
Finfintytint - Thanks very much for the reply, when you mentioned ‘subtle change in attitude for no good reason’ you knocked the nail right on the head.
I know it’s his issue and narrow minded idiosy, but it just feels so personal and direct.
I would report it yes, how else will the museum know? Obviously you don't have any evidence but if I was this man's manager I would then make it my business to observe him very closely. It's possible he also makes remarks which make his colleagues uncomfortable too.
Were the rides a permanent fixture and owned by the museum, or brought in for the event?
Purple - Thank you, that’s encouraging to hear. I am worried that there is an underbelly of it there, and could that mean more racial undertones from other volunteers/staff? I thereby worry I wouldn’t get very far with my complaint.
I know that’s an awful thing to suggest. It’s just that my friend recently began speaking about how her father-in-law refuses to speak to anyone who isn’t white, he’s from the same area that the museum is located. It’s your insular country setting issue - among certain folk that could well be resting in many others from the local surrounding.
I am by no means saying anyone from the countryside is racist, I’ve lived in a gorgeous countryside setting for ten years previous (not this one) and never encounter anything.
Washinglions - I think they are not permanent but they are owned by the museum and brought out for only family fun events.
I live in an insular country setting and it’s definitely a thing!
Finfintyfin - how do you get around it/cope? I would really love to at some point move to another country area, but I feel as though it’s a heads or tails situation which I cannot get wrong for fear of creating a hurtful upbringing for our children. It’s a really sad situation.
Newtlover - thanks for your comment, that is a really good point.
My country setting extends to " where are you from?" (Insert Mid Wales local town) to where are you really from? Yes I'm really from.....
Finfintyfin - Ah yes! The dreaded pause and then further investigation proceeds... 🧐
The old “where are you really from?”
I’d agree with PPs who’ve said that the sort of thing probably will be taken very seriously, so I’d definitely raise - better in writing, I think. It’ll also hold more weight and they’ll be able to respond to you if you provide details of who you are - do you have an email address that doesn’t give away your full name or home address?
I’m sorry that you’ve had to put up with that.
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