Poetry Reading: “Call Me ‘Sir’ by Akeem Hobson

Hello my name is Akeem Hobson and the
poem that I’ve written that I’m going to read today is called: “Call Me ‘Sir'”. I go to
a convenience store on a typical afternoon to buy some lunch fill up my
tank and the restroom I had to use my order receipt in one hand and my debit
in the other a white male clerk greets me at the counter and says how’s it goin
brother I was taken back from his words and the question that he uttered but
something inside me came out to express all my discomfort then I said to him
excuse me please do not call me your brother confused he stares at me says
why I replied because we’re not from the same mother the white male clerk then
laughs and smirks scanning my items then gives the total then he says that will
be $24 bossman the last straw breaks it’s time for me
to be vocal I addressed the white male clerk’s name the name when his badge was
Chris as a man I looked into his eyes and I replied to him with this is that
what you call all of your male customers Chris do you call all of them bossman
I find that word as an offensive form of address those words that you’ve used are
masked to further oppress I feel that when you use these words I see a
difficulty of respect that is blurred but I’ve noticed every white customer
that you’ve served every reply was how are you doing today sir
Chris replies how are those words offensive I’ve never had a customer so
sensitive I’ve said that to many male customers working here for four years
they take it as a compliment and so do my male peers I replied the word boss
should only be used for your superiors and not be replaced for sir it’s
subliminal that we’re inferior do not call me boss, boss man, chief, brother, or
homeboy, see these greetings shouldn’t be exchanged between paying customers and
service employees and as a black man who was treated as a minority I’m no
different than any other male customer here as your priority from the workplace
to the world race has no place in society and seeing the on your face
gives me the impression that you think I suffer from racial anxiety
I can assure you Chris that is not the case
they say that a mind is a terrible thing to waste so I put mine to good use just
to educate you and to all races this message I dedicate to Chris was
astonished at what I had said honoring my words Chris nodded his head he
replies sir I do apologize I’ve never thought of it like that I had never
realized let me try this again that will be $24 sir
what will be your method of payment that you prefer
I said debit please as I swiped my card on the card reader I said to Chris you
got it now that is how customers are treated he then says would you like a
receipt sir I replied yes please sir he hands me the receipt and says have a
good day and thank you for the lesson you’ve taught me today as I started to
walk away I heard Chris’s voice say excuse me how rude of me
I forgot to ask you your name I said my name is akin although that is what I’m
referred but I prefer when you see me that you can call me ‘sir’

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