Sunday, April 12, 2009
I'm not easily embarrassed. Well, at least not by other people. I embarrass myself constantly. Like when I walk around all day thinking that I'm looking cute, but realize around 7 p.m. that my zipper's been down since I went to the bathroom at noon, or when I notice a fellow commuter noticing me plucking my facial hairs in the car. Those, to me, are sufficiently embarrassing moments.
What other people do, whether my friends or family, with me or away from me, isn't reflective of me, therefore I can't be embarrassed by it. I find that, among similarly upwardly mobile black people, I am in the minority with this opinion. Is it just me, or does it seem like BAPs are the most easily abashed folks in the world. Especially when they're in a mostly-white environment. These strange creatures from Planet Uppity-For-No-Reason are quick to shush their friends ("being an ill-educated arsehole is quiet work, you minion!") and work extra hard to distance themselves from restaurant or store patrons that are engaging in too much blackery for their taste.
I've had this theory for a few years, but it has been fully honed since entering the virtual training ground for empty attitudes that is my alma mater. I was once at a party with a friend when one of my favorite songs came on. I deigned to raise one arm and let out an excited yell, only to be met with "We are not going to get drunk and act crazy tonight!" Umm, excuse me?! Why the hell not?! Oh, sorry, I forgot that the invisible ass sticks we're all clinching prohibits fun.
I recently went to my neighborhood Ross store and was forcibly and annoyingly reminded of this concept. I was attempting to return a nightstand that I had bought a few weeks back, but had sat in my trunk since then. I was partly too lazy to bring it in to my apartment, but otherwise just forgot that I had bought it. I figured that if it wasn't memorable enough to make it out of the car, I shouldn't have wasted the cash on it to begin with.
So, after waiting in line for nearly half an hour, mere moments from passing out from the mysterious, flu-like sickness that had washed over me that day, I went up to the register and handed the attendant my receipt. The barcode was smudged, and therefore she claimed that she couldn't process the return. Dear readers, what would you have done? I made a stink. Not a mean one, not a loud one, not a disrespectful one. It was just stinky enough to show the cashier (and later her manager) that I was not one to be dicked by Ross Dress for Less.
While waiting for the manager to make a few calls, I watched the cashier take the next few customers, all of whom were black. Maybe it was my imagination, but I could have sworn that they were all extra-polite to her. She, the non-English speaking woman that looked at them up and down with disgust as they smiled and said "Hi," seemingly imploring with their eyes that she (a woman who probably hates blacks in general and looks down on you because of your skin. Regardless of your college alumni plates and Pan-Hel window stickers) not lump them into the same category of neck-rolling, finger-pointing Negroes that dare to demand rational, fair treatment at discount stores.
RME. Fellow Ross patrons and your ilk, please get a life.