Husband | Son | Brother | CEO & Board Member
...I didn't expect you to be so articulate."
The FIRST time I heard this, was at a job interview for an internship at a law firm when I was 20 years old. The interviewer, a white female, likely with great intentions, leaned forward midway through and said, "I didn't expect you to be so articulate".
The "compliment" didn't really hit me until after the interview. I think I'd grown so comfortable with subtle, "innocent" racism that I didn't even consider challenging her. What became most frustrating, was the realization/reminder that even in progressive Seattle, decision makers can too often see people who look like me and unconsciously think we're less than.
I've heard this "compliment" quite a few times since then, almost always in professional settings. I no longer hesitate to challenge; respectfully, of course. ;)