Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Hartwell Chronicles... opportunity lost

Well it’s finally happened.
I was wondering how long this would last. You know, not being asked about some ignorant stereotype associated with black people.
Alas and alack, all good things must come to an end.
I was minding my own business when I heard snippets of some people taking about African Americans. I didn’t think too much about it and kept about my mission.
Later, I heard more of the conversation.
One lady was talking about neck rolling and how “black people act.”
“My daughter likes to do that,” she said.
I wasn’t trying to jump into the conversation, but then it happened.
“Do you do that?” she asked me.
I am happy to say I didn’t throw a fit.
Sure, I could have had a Sheneneh Jenkins moment and said “Oh no you didn’t.”
But what would that have accomplished? That would have perpetuated the stereotype even worse.
So I merely did what I do best, unintentionally of course. That’s right; she got a taste of the Antonia J. Robinson condescending attitude.
“No,” I said with all the disdain, distaste and disgust I could muster up.
I can be very condescending at times, according to some people. I know it’s a bad habit, but this was one occasion it was called for.
In my simple “no” she was told just how beneath me such an action was.
She tried to play it off and said “don’t worry, my daughter does it enough for the both of you.”
Well if looks could kill, she would have been dust.
To myself I said, “She doesn’t have to do anything for me. I wouldn’t be caught dead expressing such behavior.”
I should have used that as an opportunity to school her on black people. I should have said “Have you even ever seen me do that? So why ask now.”
I should have pointed out why such a statement was ignorant in the first place.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda but I didn’t.
There is a great disparity between what I actually do and what I want to do when I hear ignorant comments.
Like when the lady called me a colored girl.
OK in all fairness she didn’t say that to my face. So there was no need to even mention it.
Besides she was 100 and could have called me a lot worse.
But there was that time at an anti-abortion rally the organizer only quoted statistics about African Americans.
I should have asked him was he only mentioning African American numbers for my benefit. Clearly it does not just affect one race.
Instead, I ignored him.
And how can I forget the infamous black women marriage ratio one man brought up? He made it seem as if pimping my ride would solve the dilemma.
I should have called him out about his statements. I simply ended the conversation and left.
Yes, I am a non-confrontational person.
I say it’s because I don’t want to burn bridges by admonishing people for ignorant comments.
Then again, I’ve always been that way. I’m not that good at speaking my thoughts aloud; however, that’s no excuse.
All those missed opportunities, and nothing to show for it.
Will they ever learn?
Not unless someone teaches them. That someone might as well be me.

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