Saturday, April 11, 2009
Have you ever met someone and wondered whether they were racist or just plain stupid? My husband and I went to happy hour after work yesterday to chill out and have a few drinks. There was a guy sitting at the bar alone and we took the two seats next to him. I could tell he was a talker.
So, we order our drinks and he immediately starts up a conversation. It was going okay and then he started talking about selfish athletes that keep getting into trouble and how the "poor kids" who are looking up to them suffer. He said "those kids" suffer enough and they don't need their heroes letting them down. He considered their heroes to be rappers and athletes and thought it was disgusting how they all wanted to be "gangsta."
I told him that white kids buy way more rap music than black kids and they definitely bought into the "gangsta" image even though they probably have all the advantages that you'd think would lead them to knowing better. I also let him know that every black child does not want to be a "gangsta" or professional athlete and black people do raise their children. I was too amused with him to be pissed off.
He shuts up and the conversation goes to the terrible New York Knicks. We talked about the Knicks of old and how we knew their time had come and gone. He looks at my husband and says "You know what we call the Knicks?" He touches his arm and says, "Don't be offended." Now, whenever someone says that you know they're about to say something offensive. I braced myself and looked at my husband. Before he told us his Knickname, he asked that no offense be taken again.
All I heard was Niggas blah, blah, blah. I didn't hear the rest of what he said. It was as if time stood still. I immediately looked at my husband's hands to see if they had formed fists. My husband is not one to ask questions or start a debate over a situation. He will just bust your ass. He was surprisingly calm. Even though I was heated, I bounced off of his calmness and looked at the guy like he was an idiot. From that moment on, he no longer existed. I must say I was very proud of my husband for not knocking him out.
He continued to try and hold a conversation with us. I basically either ignored him or looked at him like he was stupid. My husband actually talked to him. I was amazed. He started talking about "this black guy" he was friends with that my husband reminded him of. The guy was big and muscular like my husband and he used to "gang bang," but he turned his life around and became an evangelist. He thought it was funny that this big guy was preaching. My husband told him he should attend some of his services because he obviously had a lot to learn. He laughed, but my husband looked at him with the most serious, scary, face that he got up and went outside. He didn't know how lucky he was.
We didn't really talk about him when he left. He wasn't worth the words. It was more important to enjoy each other's company. That was the reason we were there. We'd both had a tiring week and wanted to unwind. He came back and tried to talk to us, but eventually realized that the moment had passed. He said something about hoping we weren't offended by what he said because he didn't mean any harm. I told him he should think about what he says before speaking because he could get himself hurt one day. My husband gave him another deadly stare, I turned my head and watched the Yankee game, and he left.
I eventually asked my husband how he felt about what happened and he said it was clear from some of the things he said that he was use to being around black people who let him say whatever he wanted. He didn't necessarily think he was racist as much as he was ignorant. I'm still not sure. I was just glad he left, even though he wasn't ready to go.
So fellow bloggers, what do you think? Racist? Stupid? Ignorant? A combination of them all? I'd love to get your opinions on this one.