Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today in Post-Race History: Random Acts of Racism and the Rest of my Beautif...


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via my best friend gayle by summer of sam on 10/21/09

The rose we remember; the thorns we forget. -- Sade

Heads: I haven't been to the grocery store in weeks.  Though I love and highly recommend the Caesar the Day chicken wraps from The Goddess and the Grocer, I'm growing tired of smashing on them.  The price tag is steep.  Besides, the store is located across the street from Dairy Queen, and I just don't have enough will power not to O.D. on Blizzards.   I was out of Trader Joe's O's and rice milk, anyway.  I gotta have my O's.  So yesterday, I went ahead and made the schlep for vittles. 

Since I needed to hit up Merz Apothecary, I decided to save on gas and go to the Trader Joe's down the street from it and not my usual one.  My mistake.  I never learn.  The last time I visited that location, I stood in the check out line for an hour it was so packed.  But my desire to be green (so not easy) was greater than wanting to feel the comfort of perusing the familiar aisles of my home grocery store.  Every now and then it's ok to play an away game.

I even don't like groceries stores.  I get lost and confused.  I find the music pleasant, but the experience excruciating.  I can never find what I want, and locating items is hella difficult when soccer moms refuse to curb their kids.

So there I was pacing in between the meat and cheese sections of this foreign Trader Joe's looking for bleu cheese crumbles, angrily glancing at my list trying to decipher the chicken scratch hastily scribbled on the back of an envelope.  And then some white guy decides that I--dressed in purple sweater and gray cap with grocery list and cell phone in hand, looking, in my opinion much like a customer--just might work here.  You know he asked.  Then chuckled, of course.  I gave him a "You know that was racist" look and kept moving.  I doubt he picked up on it.

Trader Joe's requires that their employees wear a very distinctively tacky shirt--and a name tag.  To add, I have never met an unfriendly TJ's team member.  So if I just walked by you, Mr. Charlie, not checking for you, what makes you think I work here?   This is the last time I shop at a Trader Joes flanked by a CB2.  It's bad for my health.  Two strikes and I'm out. 

I'm sure this event was probably why I was all "whatever" as I eavesdropped on the conversation between my cashier and the customers ahead of me in line: apparently Wisconsin is awesome...and so are its citizens. 

Tails: Later (same day), I went on my jog (No tights today! It was 60+ degrees outside!).  I live on the west side of Logan Square in Chicago, four blocks from the nearest boulevard and thus a lot blacker and browner than the east side of the neighborhood.  As I headed east towards paler pastures via a side street, I saw three little black girls walking towards me.  I guessed that they couldn't have been more than 8, and since the one in the middle had money in hand, I assumed they were going to the store.  As I got closer ,I smiled at them; the one closest to me started to jog in place, and the one in the middle, the tallest one, followed her imitation.  As I ran by them, the one in the middle turned around and started jogging right beside me.  I chatted her up, told her as young as she was she needed to run faster.  She didn't say anything, just ran next to me and then as quickly as she changed directions to trot alongside me, she turned around and caught up with her sisters.  Those 25 feet were awesome, and helped me get through the remaining 14 blocks.  I don't really like kids that much, but that shit made my day.  It might've made my week.

Have you smiled at a little black girl today?


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