This incident didn't happen at work and it has nothing to do with any of my clients. It happens in the most unlikely place - at one of the San Francisco's public parks in the Marina District, at the tennis court. My father ran through the court where two, older and seemingly well-to-do white ladies were playing tennis. He English is far from fluent, and his accent is thick, making it often hard for others to understand him. I was sitting at a bench near the courts and observing. These women got annoyed with my father going over the court instead of walking around as the tennis etiquette provides, and he was probably in the wrong. However, the reaction of one of the women shocked me. She approached him and told him very slowly and clearly:
"When you are in our country, follow our rules! If you want to follow your rules, go home to where you came from!"
I could not believe my ears. I did not think that the City of San Francisco, that prides itself on open-mindedness and tolerance was a home to people who hold such beliefs.
I was tempted to tell that lady that my father has been living in this country almost 20 years, that he is a US citizen, and that this is his home just as much as hers, but all I did was to tell her that as a civil rights attorney, I was disappointed to hear those words come from someone who looks as well put together as her. I guess people are not always what they appear to be.
This also made me realize that if this kind of person was in any kind of management position at workplace, it would only be a matter of time till she created a racially hostile work environment, insulting or humiliating her co-workers and subordinates.