Okay, I feel like I’ve said this here before, but a quick search yielded nothing, so here goes.
A friend’s mother worked in the post office in my fair home town of yes, TOTTENVILLE. As the legend goes, little old ladies would often come in, asking for a book of stamps, and when said friend’s mother would hand them a booklet of the current Black History month stamps, they would very often wrinkle their little-old-lady noses and ask in a conspiratorial tone, “Um, do you have any stamps with the American flag on them?” (thereby casting themselves as not racist, but merely very, very patriotic.)
This story was what started my habit of intentionally requesting the black history stamps every time I went to the post office. My line (that I seemed to never actually get to use, but which I thought of as rather witty) was that, when given a book of stamps with the American flag on them, I could say, “Do you have any stamps with black people on them?” (the beginning of my Cool White Person ™ roots!!!!!!!!!)
About a week ago, Max informed me that the post office had new “Vintage Black Cinema” stamps. Intrigued, and (uncharacteristically) in the post office while it was open one day, I sought the stamps out.
And I have to say that it bothered me when the woman at the counter said to me, “oh, and have you seen these new stamps too?” (some scenic Montana thing, or maybe it was Idaho, or who knows where . . . )
So I’m probably over-thinking it, but it bothered me . . . flashbacks to the little old ladies in the Tottenville post office . . . and it’s likely that she didn’t mean anything by it, but I just couldn’t help wondering why she made a point of suggesting these other stamps . . .
I’m sure that people will say I’m over-reacting . . . but it just struck me as odd.
One thought on “Sunday blogging against racism #49–at the post office”
Well, I’m not sure what to say. I’m tired of the American flag stamps, just because they’ve been around for ages, not because of underlying un-patriotism. After awhile they just look *ugly*– the backgorund colors are so dismally plain. So the only good thing about the little-old-ladies from Tottenville is that they shall one day pass on, and not promulgate their attitudes upon us any long. (Note: I’m not suggesting or endorsing anyone premature demise; I’m just sayin’)
As for your trip into the local USPS branch, there *ARE* people who still collect stamps as a hobby. When I’ve gone in and requested whatever stamp-flavor-of-the-month I wanted, they always asked if I’d seen the other new one(s) just released. It’s called an up-sell– kinda like “do you want fries with that?”. They make money on stamps sold and never used, smart huh?