Tuesday, January 24, 2006

True Colors

I'm completely confused and concerned about where this world is going.

I feel like I need to remind people that it is 2006 and that we live in America. (Ok. So some of you don't. But I do and we're supposed to be a melting pot.) People are seriously going mad.

And I could just be more aware of it because Mr. CM has been talking about it for the last month or so. But tonight it was directed at me.

As with every town, mine has a "nice" section and a "not so nice" section. The "not so nice" section is not even bad. It's just where the lower income housing is. It is, actually, the part of town where I live.

The first week I lived here I went to a grocery store in the "nsn" section, just up the street. When I walked in, it was as if time stopped. No exaggeration, people stopped talking and just stared at me. I was the only white person in there.

Not caring, being on top of the world because I owned my own house and these new people were my new neighbors, I smiled and said hi to everyone. Everyone. Not one person said hello back and most stared right through me.

When I got up to the register to pay, the cashier would not bag my groceries. When I asked for a bag, he pointed to where they were and said in a not so friendly voice, "There they are" and walked away from his register.

Up until today, that has been the only form of discrimination or any form of unfriendliness I have encountered while living here. Everyone else, even in that same shopping center, is very, very nice.

Today I was in the other grocery store on the other end of town. I realized that something I bought rang up $3 over what it was supposed to and I asked the boy who was ringing me out if he could check on it. Because he couldn't leave his register, he asked the other boy, who was bagging, to go look. In the meantime, a woman placed her groceries on the belt and waited. She looked impatient.

After a few minutes, it was fairly obvious that the bagger did not know where to look, and the lady was now very impatient. I jokingly said, "He must be lost." The cashier laughed and said, "Yeah, I think you are right."

To which the lady in line behind me said something to the effect of, "You only said that because he is black."

(She is black, the cashier is white, I am white and the bagger is black)

I was dumbfounded. I do not know what lead her to say this, and am still quite thrown by the fact that she verbalized it, even if she was thinking it.

I was visibly shaking and replied, "I'm sorry, but that's simply not true."

She didn't reply but she gave me a "Do you really expect me to believe that?" look. The only other thing I could say was, "I'm sorry you think that is true."

By that time the bagger came back and the cashier was trying to get me out as fast as possible. I thanked both of the boys and walked out.

I have no idea what lead her to believe that I said the boy got lost because he was black. In fact, to be honest with you, I didn't even realize that he was black until she said it. (I'm sure I did realize it but it was not a blatant "this boy is black" thought, just like it was not a "the boy who is ringing me out is white") Perhaps she had a bad day and was simply angry at the world, and it was just an easy way to blow off steam.

Whatever the reason, it was completely uncalled for and I am saddened that people like that exist, let alone live in my town.

Seriously people, wake up. There are more important things in this world than what color you are or are not, or what God you worship. Focus on being a good HUMANS.

Thank you for listening everyone. I'm sorry I always rant. I'll post better things for the rest of the week.


One who listens said...

I've heard a similar story from my girly about a time someone said "Your hands are black bright!" when some kids came in from the garden with black mud all over them.

A black woman (from Nigeria, I think) who was there immediately took offense, and started shouting (rather scarily) at the woman who'd said it.

My response probably would have been "Sheesh! Chill out! Look at this jumper. It's grey. That's the name of a colour. Look at my jeans. They're black. That's the name of a colour. Look at the mud on their hands, it's black. That's the name of a colour."

I get offended when people assume I'm racist. I don't care what colour your skin is, as long as you're nice. If you're horrible, I'll dislike you just as much whatever the colour of your skin.


One who listens said...

On a lighter note, the song which my girly and I share as "Our Song" is True Colours by Phil Collins, and I engraved "Victoria, I see your True Colours" on the back of her iPod.

On a slightly more sinister note, the verification word was fnhsnvby, which doesn't mean anything, but is really hard to type.


Mags said...

I think that is the first time I've seen your girlies name. Victoria and Owl. Yup. Sounds good.

DinaLove said...

Mags, I am so sorry you had to go through that, but I suppose it was something you had to experience in order to write what you did for the rest of us to read.

I agree that there should be no black/white, female/male, old/young, skinny/fat discrimination ever and with your comment about focusing on being humans.

How DARE someone assume that your humor was really meant as a prejudice remark? And, to be perfectly honest, that woman's comment didn't even make any sense! He's lost because he's black?!? I don't get it. Is that a new stereotype? Because if so, then my mom's a young, black supermarket clerk.

Well, I'm visibly shaken right now, quite frankly (you can't see, obviously), because you're a good person and there was no need to have to feel like you had to defend yourself for something that was not true, or, at the very least, misunderstood.

I've had a similar situation occur only once in my life and I immediately felt so shocked that this person could possibly think that I, me, DinaLove, would EVER be considered a racist.

I guess I can only remind myself that sometimes people (fellow human beings, regardless of their differences) just don't know how to act around each other because of their ignorance and not to be malicious. At least then I can be empathetic instead of harboring anger against the world. What kind of way would that be to live?

Mags said...

Dina, I love you. You crack me up, and I thank you for your always passionate and always honest comments.

You're the best.

megan said...

I've been lucky enough to not have ever witnessed blatant discrimination of a black/minority/African American person from a Caucasian person. I have however, witnessed numerous accounts of discrimination the other way around. Why is that? It's sad, confusing, frustrating, and disappointing!!

kristarella said...

It's just crazy - like years of racism and oppression from whites towards black people has made them expect it, but not only that, now they are racist towards white people. I'm sure they'd be horrified to be viewed in such a way but I think that what that lady said to you must be from a racist heart, otherwise why say it?

That being said of course, I musn't let this story and this one angry woman to taint my view of other people.