1.10.12 behind closed doors

Please don’t misunderstand my previous post as my hating on my hometown. The dogging on my mama could’ve happened anywhere but I was just taken aback because I expected extra warmth and friendliness from my ‘hood. I’ve now been enjoying LA once again. So many more strangers doting on my Micah here, maybe because the weather is so nice so people have the leisure to just stop and coo over him. I’ve also been floored by the gushing customer service here, whether it’s at Target or at the mall. The employees actually come up to ME and ask if there is any way they can help. I really wanted to hug them. At the neighborhood Key Food that we are forced to shop at from time to time back in NYC, the cashiers will not even look up from texting when ringing me up.

Today, we visited my friend from college in Agoura Hills, CA. Afterwards, I stopped by a nearby store to shop for a dress for one of my best friend’s wedding this Saturday. I didn’t have much time as we have a packed schedule here so I rushed to try on a handful of stuff while Kevin and Micah waited for me. Micah was having a good ol’ time in the shopping cart. As I rushed back into the dressing room to try on my next dress, I briefly caught a glimpse of a white lady in her 60s and her daughter in her 40s making some friendly chitchat to Micah (and Kevin).

Then they came into the dressing room right next to me and started gabbing.

“Mom! You had a sensor on your top! That means you stole that top! You totally did -Admit it right now. HAHAHAAA”

“Oh, stop it! Listen, I had such a hard time with the top because of that sensor. The employee had left it on and I had to go all the way back to tell them to take it off. The manager asked me which employee had rang me up and listen, I was SO genteel about it. You should’ve seen me. I was SO genteel. I just said, ‘The black man.'”

“Right. You couldn’t have said, ‘Look, Buckwheat over there.'”

[Bonding KKK laughter between mother and daughter]

I wondered if I should say something. I usually do but when I do, it is just a spewing forth of explosive emotion. And what could I say? Don’t they have freedom of speech? And I should say something wise and penetrating, instead of, “Shut the hell up you nasty KKK!” So I opted not to say anything.

I wish I could say I was appalled but I wasn’t. Depending on the topic, I can swing from being a bright-eyed idealist to a hard-nosed cynic. When it comes to issues of race, I am a cynic. I expect most people to talk like this behind closed doors. Even seemingly sweet women who dote on my Oriental, china doll, model minority, submissive Bruce Lee baby, can then proceed to go into the “privacy” of their own dressing room to laugh too loudly about their disgusting Buckwheat comment.

Kevin and I discussed this while driving to dinner. Playing devil’s advocate, we imagined what the women would say in their defense. What if the dude looked exactly like Buckwheat? Granted, that could be something of a defense but the tone and tenor of their comments and laughter as white women definitely made my stomach react. And sometimes, all we have is that gut feeling.

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