Get into the lift at work in town with 3 other people.
Everyone hits their floors and away we go.
Guy opposite me looks over (with that up and down eye movement so I’m already guessing his internal suspicions).
He says: You going up to the councillors floor?
Yes I am.
Are u going to see someone?
Yeah, I have a meeting.
On the councillors floor, he asks again?
Yes, I say. I have a meeting.
He says, oh… so what do u do that brings u here in your “cool gear”? referring to how I’m dressed. In my respectful Samoan tone I reply: I’m a councillor. I represent the people of Manukau.
Silence, that awkward silence.
No more eye contact.
No more questions.
Just time to reflect on the unconscious bias that filled our little elevator environment, till I get off at level 26 and with that just another day at the office has begun.
Efeso Collins is an Auckland City Councillor