Did I just quit and then semi-unquit and it was all allowed specifically because I am white – and having me would “improve the restaurants image” and “attract white americans”?
Did I quit partly because of an impulse driven by a time I got threatened to be fired because of an evening where I made a ridiculous amount of mistakes?
Did I quit partly because of frustrations from wading confusedly through cultural rules and feeling guilty about my many faux paus and mistakes?
Did I stay partly because I like the attention of being the American in the Chinese restaurant?
Did I stay because I feel attached to my community of coworkers?
Did I stay because there are times where I love everything about this job, the people, the culture, and the interactions?
Do I get paid more than any of the other employees in my position?
Do I feel guilty about this, but accept it anyway?
Yes. Yes this is all true and yes this happened.
The way I see it there are multiple things going on here. The first one is me not always being an on-point worker. In school I was not always an on-point student. I was diagnosed with moderate ADHD. I can be impulsive and make frequent sloppy mistakes in all aspects of my life.
So theres the level of my personality as an individual, but then there is the (what appears to me to be a) tremendous amount of leeway and forgiveness specifically because I am a White USAmerican.
Lastly theres the level of the genuinely frustrating business-cultural practices, that feel unfair to everyone.
In conclusion, it is a bit of a cluster..jumble of complexity. It leaves me in the position of asking myself – how do I act ethically here?
I think the answer to that question is to be determined. However, the first step to addressing this conundrum is to identify and clarify its parts*. To do this we must be honest and unflinching and transparent. We cannot let ourselves be scared away by guilt, or allow white fragility (or any other dominant group fragility) to compromise our ability to think critically about ourselves and the world we live in.
Let’s be brave, folks!
Here is a video a friend shared that I wanted to embed but couldn’t figure it out in the time I have now. Hopefully I get it working later.
*The three strands I set aside here are only the scratching the surface of the full picture.