Tomato and Apple

Staring at this picture long enough, I started hearing voices. Some came from the tomato, some apples.

Discrimination doesn’t come with a sound or smell. It’s difficult to prove its existence. Some aren’t aware of been discriminated; some don’t know they discriminate.

“Is it possible that you were oversensitive?” I asked my friend this question after he described how a guy, in a pretty empty elevator, asked him to push the floor-button for him.

“Of course, it is possible,” he said. He looked into my eyes. It was clear to me that he didn’t tell me the whole story. I decided not to ask.

This conversation happened many years ago. Now I am older and know better, I wonder if there was some extra meaning behind one of my colleges’ question: “why don’t you go back?” or one of my landlord’s comment: “you guys took all the good jobs away from us.”

In first case, I simply ignored my college’s question because I didn’t know what was going on, and in second case, I politely asked, “What are you talking about? Who are ‘you’ and who are ‘us’? You are an American just like me, right?” (By the way, my landlord’s son is a lawyer.)

The only time I was so sure that something wasn’t right was when I took my daughter and her friend to a local restaurant for lunch. We waited for a long time for our service person to show up. When she came, she had an expression that I could never forget. It was the same expression I saw on my daughter’s face many years ago when she spitted out the food I fed her.

I ordered a cup of soup. It took forever for soup to come; when she came, she dropped the bowl on the table, making a disturbing noise. And the soup was cold.

She is so young; what had happened to her? I thought to myself. I wasn’t upset at all; I was puzzled (maybe even a little amused). I tipped her anyway. However, when I walked out the door, I told the manager what had happened. He said, “No, we don’t treat anyone like that here.”

I smiled. “I think I know how I was treated more than you do,” I said and walked away. I never went back to that restaurant again.

A week ago, I emailed my friend to apologize. I assured him that when I asked him whether he was oversensitive, I wasn’t questioning what he said. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any misunderstanding; I wanted the truth.

Truth may remain mystery in many cases, of course.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Tomato and Apple

  1. Dalo 2013 says:

    Enjoyed the write up quite a bit Helen ~ the photo too, the shallow DOF works well, it emphasizes the thought of discrimination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Randall. I haven’t written anything for a long time. Photographing satisfies my creativity side of brain and it’s better than writing because I don’t have to worry about grammar, spelling… etc. 😉 Do you believe if I tell you that I paused in the middle of writing this, wondering how would Randall write this piece 😉
      Have a great day.

      Like

  2. The big problem Helen is that there are many truths…, have a nice week!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Anabel Marsh says:

    I love how your thoughts progress from a simple photo of a tomato and apples! (Simple meaning in subject, not in technique!) They are both fruit, both tasty, who’s to say one is better than the other? Your stories of discrimination make me sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Anabel. You are right – who’s to say one is better than the other. And I would add: even if one is better, we should still be able to live together peacefully.
      All these experiences didn’t bother me a lot. I felt discomfort, but I didn’t recognize what kind discomfort it was, so I didn’t think too much of it. 😉 Sometime being not-too-smart could be a blessing. Ha.
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. brenda says:

    thanks for sharing this…I need reminding about how subtle and painful discrimination is… I also find a need to apologize and somehow seek amends.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Brenda. I do have a concern of some people being oversensitive. Once in a while when my husband and I went out together, he would be very upset for something someone said, but I thought it was perfectly fine 😉
      I think attitude tells more than words. As long as one is sincere, he can say anything to me and I won’t get upset 😉
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Perpetua says:

    Aha … the tomato and apple metaphor again. Those rotten …. I sometimes wonder how people can behave this way. I see it more of a jealousy. As a person of color and worked hard in Canada, by far, I got the job that most non-coloured people because I am worthy of it. It is jealousy. Hope the apology is accepted.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Perpetua. My friend is very nice. He said I didn’t offend him. 😉
      Maybe there is another tomato-apple story coming, but I have to think through first. Ha.
      You are a courageous woman. If you didn’t write those articles, I probably wouldn’t write these. Thanks.
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Like

  6. Lignum Draco says:

    Discrimination comes in many forms. Mutual respect is the key.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks you, LD. They said the ability of speaking/writing in a second language is the first thing to go when you age. They were right! When I wrote a reply saying even if it is true that some of us are better, we should still be able to treat each other nicely (something like that ;-), in my mind I was searching for the words “mutual respect”, but I couldn’t find them. I am so glad to read your comment! THANKS!
      Have a great day.

      Like

  7. Rupali says:

    I like your metaphor but I really feel as a parent first and foremost what we should teach our children is that no one is superior/inferior to others. This all idea of I/ME creates majority of the problems.
    A wonderful post Helen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      I agree with you, Rupali, that parents should teach their children that no one is superior/inferior to others, but I couldn’t help wondering is there anything I can do to help this young girl to see things differently. For her sake, that is. 😉
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rupali says:

        I am sorry Helen but am not so sure about it. My personal opinion is these things are very complicated since you do not know the girl as such. We donot know the reason for her behaviour, is it just general hatred about others or it was in her upbringing or if she has suffered or what not.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Denzil says:

    She didn’t deserve a tip, but you were gracious. I can’t believe that discrimination still happens in 2018. What’s wrong with us?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Lady Oscar says:

    What is another half of the story happening on your friend years ago?
    discrimination could be hidden in a very subtle emotion… as a teacher, sometimes I feel that this kid is smarter, and another is not… and I feel bad when I got this feeling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Discrimination can be hidden — you are totally right. I think it is okay to feel one kid is smarter, as long as you treat both the same. I really don’t mind if someone thinks I am not smart or I am not as good as others; but I do think smart or not, we deserve the same amount of respect 😉
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I read Randall’s come .. it is beautiful writing. But it saddened me too. I wonder if that lass will ever learn to respect others

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Sorry .. Randall’s comment, where are my glasses

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      LOL. You must have heard what I said to my husband this morning. I told him that I’d spent a lot of time looking for my glasses nowadays. 😉
      Thanks, Julie. My feeling is that the chance for that girl to learn to respect others is very small. And that makes me sad.
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

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