A TikToker claimed that working as a cleaner drew her attention to “just how racist everyone still is”— and viewers are backing her up with their own experiences.
Emilia (@thehugedoink) shared a simple 6-second clip to her TikTok, showing her standing in an apartment with a mask on, staring into the camera.
“this dude just walked up to me and asked ‘english?’” she wrote. “being a cleaning lady has genuinely showed me just how racist everyone still is.”
She further added that “so many people have reacted in shock when they saw that i am in fact white ???”
so many people have reacted in shock when they saw that i am in fact white ??? ??????♬ original sound – Emilia
Assuming that house cleaners may not speak English by default is an assumption that seems unlikely to be applied to many other professions. And people allegedly being shocked that a cleaner is white just goes to show how much stereotypes have sunk into the collective consciousness—an estimated 60.1% of house cleaners in the United States are white, compared to just 18.9% identifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino, 9.6% as Black, and 5.4% as Asian.
Viewers of Emilia’s TikTok had similarly disconcerting stories to share, many of which pointed out how “racism and classism are intertwined,” as @bruh9.4 wrote.
“When I was a cleaning lady at this festival multiple white people spoke to me in broken Spanish even after I replied back in English, like they refuse to speak to me in English,” @phat_cooter recalled.
“my dad has been working in hospitals as a biomed for 26 years and he still gets asked by doctors if he’s cleaning,” said @kayyy.817, while @strawb3rryfa1ry said the video “reminds me when the staff mistook my mom for the cleaners cause she’s Spanish” when they were vacationing at a resort.
One viewer experienced the opposite, claiming that he was once told “to just let the cleaning crew get it” while he was sweeping up, and had to inform them that actually, he was the cleaning crew. Another admitted, “I’ve had people try and practice their Spanish on me… I don’t speak Spanish lol”
“I’m a white guy who cleans houses,” @kentucky_fried_communist added. “I’m the only white person in our crew, so everyone always assumes I’m in charge. I’m 18.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Emilia via TikTok comment.