Being a child of the ’60s, I was able to experience and see prejudice at work around me and towards me as I grew up.I remember not really processing it all until I was a young adult but feeling uncomfortable in situations. I grew up in a neighborhood of Asian descent neighbors and us with one other neighbor were the only whites on the street. This time in my life was not strange since they were friendly neighbors. I do look back and think about how their speaking of a language I didn’t know made me feel left out, but not to the point that I felt rejected. We lived in an area that had large amounts of fruit orchards and the migrant workers from Mexico would come for harvest but always stayed to themselves. At the beginning of my 3rd grade year in school, we moved to Flint, Michigan in the ’70s when there was lots of racial uprising going on. I was thrown into a classroom all black kids and I was the only white kid. They were openly hostile towards me and made it clear I was not welcome. Our home was threatened with bombs or the killing of my family. I would hide at recess to avoid them petting my hair. After being on the receiving end of prejudice behavior I vowed to try to never do that to another human as long as I lived. So, after this short back story of my life, I want to talk about how we treat clients that grace our massage business.
First, I would like to address taking in clients based on your preference of people. I think that is just terrible. I cringe each time I get a call from a client and they ask if I take black clients. My response has always been I do not care what color you are or if you are purple with pink dots I will see you as a client. In today’s time I should never be asked that question, but they have learned to ask because there are people out there that will turn them away when they arrive based on their skin color. Seriously, I am sure all our money is the same color and we all bleed the same color so there is no need to know a client’s skin color to book them or give them a massage.
Second, the potential clients age, sex or size is not necessary to know. I accept clients no matter what sex are or identify with. As a massage therapist it is not my business to ever judge a client’s choice in life as to sexual preference. I do ask that any client under 18 be accompanied by an adult that can sign for them and under 16 the parent must be in the room during the massage for legal reasons. I don’t ask clients height or weight but if a client’s weights over 450 pounds I do need to know since my table is not rated for any heavier clients. I take clients of all sizes and shapes. We all have our own issues and should not judge others.
Lastly, clients have all kinds of medical conditions that can at times be unsightly. We as massage therapist should see all client unless it is contagious or will cause the client physical harm to have the massage. We should also be versed in medical conditions so that we understand where our client is coming from in their daily life. I do not mind clients telling me ahead of time about what their medical issue is since it gives me time to research it if I am unfamiliar with the issue.
To wrap it all up we are all humans and should treat each other with respect and understanding. Our choices in life do not have to be other choices. If others think, act or look different than us it does not mean they need to conform to our way of life. Try treating all humans that cross your path as you would want to be treated. I hope to never experience prejudice again in my life and neither should anyone else.