9 Jan 2012

A victim of positive discrimination

I checked in at a hotel in Leeds last night. The lady attending the desk was visibly of African origins I came to assume by her physical characteristics – I may have been wrong.

Nonetheless it was easy to recognise how easy it was to communicate with her – it was as though she spotted my so-called ‘West Indian’ accent (whilst acknowledging that West India is not a place in the Caribbean or near it).

I enquired about parking at a car park just opposite to the hotel. She asked if I had a pass. I said ‘no’. She said “Would you like one?” I obliged. She didn’t ask for payment and none offered. The pass would allow be to stay until 10:00 AM the following morning.

Now here’s the thing – I discovered at 09:00 this morning, that last night, a fee was payable. But I offered nothing and no demand or question about payment arose last night or this morning. I thought, “Well fine if I’m given a free pass, I’m happy with that.. at the time I didn’t know I was meant to pay for it”.

But on reflection – I think the receptionist last night must have known it was chargeable. I just wasn’t charged. She didn’t look like an incompetent type. I could only explain this as some kind of positive discrimination. She probably favoured me on the basis of a few seconds of interaction based on some characteristic that said to her ‘give him a chance’. To me the only obvious thing was my appearance and my accent.

Well yes, I could be dead wrong – and there could be a thousand other possibilities that might explain this. However, this is how it appeared to me on the basis of what I experienced. By law I should complain to the police that I was racially discriminated for! Do you think I’m gonna do that?