In Trump’s America, black people are faced with adversity every single time they step out of their homes, and while that is not something new in the age of Trump, being accosted by their utility companies definitely is. That is exactly what happened to Erica Conway when she requested a new password for her electric company’s website, because she had forgotten hers.
The woman claims that Puget Sound Energy in Washington state emailed her a temporary password to use in order to access her account so she could make a new one. The password they sent her, however, was completely and utterly sickening.
“I clicked “forgot password” and got a temporary password from PSE and it was capitol N-I-G-G-A and I was quite shocked.”
“It was like an emotional roller coaster. Shock, disbelief, disgusted, angry. It was just yeah, even now I’m just kind of like I cannot believe this. I just can’t believe it. I was truly in disbelief. Because this is not normal, and this is not what a temporary password is supposed to say.”
According to KIRO 7, “Conway is a longtime volunteer of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP. She showed us past temporary passcodes that were just random letters and numbers, so she believes this passcode slur was created deliberately.”
When Conway contacted the Puget Sound Energy to file a complaint about the racial slur being used by the company, she was met with ignorance and a complete and utter lack of empathy, as black people most times are. The PSE employee Conway spoke with acted like sending out a racial slur to a black customer was no big deal. Even more ridiculous, she claimed the word “nigga” was no longer used.
Conway says that she confronted the employee, saying:
“I had said ‘Do you guys screen out certain words?’ and Lydia was, like, ‘Yes we do.” And I said, ‘Well you guys didn’t screen out this word” And she said, ‘Why would we?’ and I said, ‘What do you mean why would we? This is an offensive word.’ And she stated to me, ‘No one uses that word anymore.’ And I was like, ‘where are you living, what planet are you living on?'”
PSE has released a statement to the press, refusing to take responsibility and claiming the racial slur was computer generated:
“This was offensive, there was no question about that, we apologize to this customer, the community, for what has happened, and we are trying to do what we can to make it right. These passwords are generated automatically so they go straight from the system straight to the customers. So, it’s not able to be accessed by an employee.”
KIRO 7 reported that, “PSE says it has taken immediate steps to make sure temporary passwords are a scrambled mix of letters and numbers. And next month it will begin using a new system that gets rid of temporary passwords all together.” But that doesn’t take away the hurt inflicted on Conway’s psyche. She says that:
“This is 2018; we’re still dealing with issues like this. It’s pretty sad. As a society, it’s pretty sad.”