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A video featuring a Black hotel employee calmly telling a racist woman to find somewhere else to stay is going viral and inspiring people on Twitter to use similar tactics for combatting racism.
The video, shared by user @craignofridayy on Sunday evening, has received more than 2 million views and around 70,000 retweets by the time of writing.
The name, time, or location of the hotel where the incident reportedly took place was not immediately clear, and the user did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
In the video, the user is seen having what appears to be a follow-up conversation after the woman, not seen in the video, called him a “fucking [N-word]” over the phone.
“I need to stay here, my mother died,” the woman is heard saying.
“I understand that, but you called me a fucking [N-word],” the man says calmly.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” the woman says.
“No, you weren’t sorry when you said it on the phone,” he says.
The woman’s response is inaudible, but she appears to be trying to justify her action and keeps repeating, “I’m sorry.”
“In the climate that we live in today, in today’s society,” the man says while she repeats her apology. “I understand that, but it’s above me now.”
As she tries to explain that her other family members are staying at this facility, he refers her to the Best Western next door, all the while repeating with fantastic calmness, “It’s above me.”
People on the internet are feeling the zen and totally polite way to diss a racist in such situations.
Next time I'm getting ready to fight somebody, I'm just gonna keep resignedly saying "I'm sorry, but it's above me"— omniboi (@omniboi) June 3, 2019
Some couldn’t help notice the tables being turned.
“This is like the reverse of the ‘yeah but I still gotta call the cops though’ and I’m SCREAMING,” one user wrote.
Ohh, the "white-people-customer-service-passive-aggressive" voice and stance for the win.— Sherese Lee Robinson (@ShereseLee) June 3, 2019
This is the “cops have been called” face that yt ppl make...— Paris. (@JeSuisAParis) June 3, 2019
At one point in the minute-long video, another woman is heard entering the scenario, likely the first woman’s daughter. The daughter’s lack of apology or shock at hearing the accusation from the employee caught many people’s attention.
Nor did she apologize like omg not that my mom would ever say or do something like that but I’d be mortified— Autumn (@alindseym) June 3, 2019
The man’s relentless politeness in the video reaches a level of condescending calm that gave many people inspiration for how to speak to someone you can’t afford to yell at but also want to dismiss. Memes cropped up with #ItsAboveMe.
People are ready for the merchandise with the catchphrase.
make some #ItsAboveMe shirts.— Are You Valet? (@ScottieBeam) June 3, 2019
Beyond all the internet hype, there is a lesson for people of color on how to address such situations.
“The best thing about this is I don’t see anyone tell him he should have had compassion because she was grieving,” one woman wrote. “Are we finally learning to stop prioritizing [white people’s] pain over ours??”
The best thing about this is I don't see anyone telling him he should have had compassion because she was grieving— DANY WAS RIGHT #Dracarys (@sofreenyla) June 3, 2019
Are we finally learning to stop prioritizing their pain over ours??#ItsAboveMe I don't GAF what you going through
Kindly direct them to the Best Western pic.twitter.com/cOJG3HbXO9
No aggression, just knowledge: largest factor of why we can't shake the stain/virus of racism is exactly because it's ALWAYS Black people's burden to educate/rise above. We can't own that work. It's not our water to carry. As long as we carry it, White people will never own it.— Truth-Be-Told (@DropnJewels) June 3, 2019
According to follow-up tweets from the user who posted the video, the woman eventually relocated to the Best Western next door. The user said the woman’s family members stayed at the facility in question and “had an attitude.”
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Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque