Sometimes on days when I’m feeling like the world is good enough that I can relax my guard or when I’m feeling more human than usual, which is not as often as you might think, I ask myself: “Why I do scare white people so much?”
What I’m saying is with just a look I can make some person of the Caucasian persuasion change their walking direction and go in a way they were so obviously not headed? Why is it, when I walk into a café and get in line behind some little white girl, she cannot find a place to put her purse that is far enough from me? I have sat on a train next to an old couple deep in the joys of long wedded bliss and within a of couple minutes their conversation stops; soon one of them is cutting their eyes at me while the other pinches them to stop and look straight ahead. I mean damn! I wish I could read their minds and then tell them that 99% of the time I don’t want anything from them other than a smile of acknowledgement and then to ignore me like they do other people. Sometimes their fear is so obvious, I feel bad for them and their attempt to flee for safety….from me. It’s just too silly.
Then there is another type. I call them “bleeding hearts”. They want to make up for the wrongs that their ancestors have done to/for me and my people.
Damn…….how silly is that?
I wasn’t there, you weren’t there, how and why would I or you entertain such a silly notion? I mean if you’re giving out 40 acres and a mule, I’m open to discuss locations. Beyond that it’s all philosophical.
Some times when I meet their eyes, I just know. Here comes the big smile and the “I’m glad you’re here hand shake or better yet a hug.”
Are you kidding me?
Do people hug other people you don’t know? Why me? OK not counting the “free hugs” people, and they don’t really count. **I must say for the record, for the people who know me: I really, really love a good hug… from people I know!
After that they start offering things and extending themselves all over the place. Oh my god!! Slow down. I just came to hear a speaker or get a bottle of water. No really, a bottle of water, not three or ten.
The other day I went out for the day and I like to get a sandwich early and have it for later. I stop at this shop on the way. It must have been about 10:30am and they were just getting started. There was an older man in there waiting for his order and I walk up to the counter. He gave me a huge smile and a hardy “morning”. In a new shop who knows what they want as soon as they walk in. So I was perusing the menu. They guy behind the counter looked up and saw me and for a slip second I the “what now” look on his face. When I was younger I would just leave so as to not deal with their attitude but as I go older and stronger I realized that I would be leaving more places than I would be staying. When he asked what I wanted in that a little too forceful way I was ready for him. I said politely that I was almost ready. Before I finished my sentence he was to what he was doing before. The other guy saw this I could feel it.
I got the guy the counter attention and ordered a turkey with swiss on rye, no onions.
That’s not a hard or pushy order, right? It’s a classic deli order.
The next thing out of his mouth was how would you like that?
I thought for a second and decided he meant cold or hot. I said, Hot.
It the most snotty of tones he said, Lettuce, tomato or not.
I said, Not.
He walked away and continued the guys order.
So I waited and waited.
He gave the older guy his large order with a Sir and Thank you.
The guy took his to-go order to the table and acted like he was checking it out. The counter guy asked him if everything was OK, he said it was fine. I noticed him looking at me more than normal, not unusual.
The counter guy called my order. I walked up to pay and get my sandwich. It was tiny and not hot. No chips or pickle or napkins. OK
I asked how much?
$5.50 was all he said.
The older guy was right at my side. He don’t you work for Macy’s?
Yes I was there last week and you helped me so well I wanted to give you a tip but I didn’t want to get you in trouble. Let me buy your sandwich and hey how about some chips and a drink?
He started grabbing stuff off the counter and I said no that won’t be necessary.
It would be my pleasure to pay you back for all you did for me. So he grabbed some Bar B-Q chips and two bottles of water and shoved them in a bag and asked counter guy how much?
I was surprised but I understood pretty quickly what was going on.
He paid for everything and walked me out of the door and around the corner with an “it’s so nice to see you again”. As soon as we got around the corner he dropped the act.
I waited for him to talk first.
He said, I’m guessing you’re wondering what’s going on here?
Not really, I said.
Well I could see that the counter guy was not going to treat you right and I hate that kind of thing.
What kind of thing? I said.
Discrimination, it makes my blood boil.
** add the obligatory story about how he marched or had a black best friend that he was told that he could not play with, etc..
I said, he the owner and is he always like that?
I don’t know it’s the first time that I’ve been there when a col, um African American guy has come in.
I thanked him and I could swear there was a tear in his eye when he shook my hand.
I gave the sandwich to a homeless man in the park, what I would never eat food made by someone who hated me from the jump. I ate the chips and drank the water they were not made by the meanie counter guy.
Now some people will read this and say, you just said you hate it when white people act afraid of you, now you’re saying you don’t want them to help or welcome you with open arm?
That is a good question. Here’s the deal, I have been on this Earth long enough to know the difference between genuine welcoming and here’s a chance to work off a bucket of guilt.
It’s in the eyes and in the shoulder patting (in)sincerity.
I see myself as kind of a people person but not in the traditional way. I like to watch the way people interact and I love to know what people are thinking.
I can’t lie and say I’m just like everyone else. I’ve never felt that way and I’m contrary enough that if I wake up one day and find that more than a few people are starting to be like me then I will change pretty quickly.
So these 700+ words probably won’t get me to the answer that I was looking for.
I don’t really know why white people are scared by me. If they took the time to talk to me, I would kind of understand it. I have some pretty odd ideas about the world around, but that’s not how it goes down.
A few are most definitely not scared of me and they are pulled to me like a magnet to iron. Not always in a good way. Sometimes when I travel I get looked up and down so much I think people are turning into those dogs in the back of cars with their heads bouncing all the time. What’s the deal? I am what I think is regular looking and only a little un-ordinary.
So maybe the question is “Why do white people find me so interesting?” No as I’m writing this I can remember at least a few people walking up to me and either smiling big and offering something I didn’t ask for or looking at me like I stole their mule and they don’t know how to ask for it back.
So yeah, why do I scare white people so much? I guess that is still the question...