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  • Writer's picturejdc

In Real Life

These were written when I was, shall I say, in a mood. They are snippets from ‘in real life’. Evernote was the platform and they came forth in a bundle along with a few other pieces. The physical place escapes me but it was winter.

 

Never really sure I will get served


There is always a moment. Is the staff slammed? Is it the middle of a shift change?


I spent many years in the hospitality industry so I understand the behind the scenes pacing and logistics.


I wait and see if eye contact is made signaling acknowledgment. I know what it feels like to be invisible or dismissed. I wait.

A black and white photo outside a window of a business with a sign in it stating that they only carter to white customers • 1943, Source: Oregon Historical Society
A black and white photo outside a window of a business with a sign in it stating that they only carter to white customers • 1943, Source: Oregon Historical Society

What will possibly come next:

  • I ask the hostesses to send a server to the table.

  • If approached at long last without intervention I do what I do and disarm and charm.

  • I exit.


Every single time.


Disrespected or not seen? In these federated states, it is hard to tell the difference.


 

My Son Likes Okra


Can you imagine a scenario in a conversation with a friend where the statement “My son likes okra!” is shared as some sort of evidence of understanding Blackness in these federated states? It is akin to the ever popular, “My Black friend…”.


jdc's "Bitmoji" illustrated avatar with hand to forehead and disappointed expression with the letters SMH in front
jdc's "Bitmoji" illustrated avatar with hand to forehead and disappointed expression with the letters SMH in front

And yet, it happened. It happens all the time.


Those words hide assumptions, ignorance and prejudice. It would be hysterical if it wasn’t so damaging and destructive.


In 2015, I let it slide – but clearly I remembered.


In retrospect, it was a foreshadowing that the relationship was not as I believed and deserve.


It is no longer.

I learned.


 

Really, I am not angry – Nor do I dance when happy.


The single narrative. SIGH. Oversimplification and generalization so as to more easily categorize, limit and ultimately control.


The damage this mindset has done and will continue to do is readily apparent.


With that said, I want to clear up a few things:

  • I am not angry. In fact I am probably one of the least angry people you might ever meet. Annoyingly so.

  • When I am happy,

    • I do not dance. I mean I might but it’s not a given.

    • I also do not sing randomly in stores, gatherings, in the middle of a conversation, etc.

I will walk around a city with headphones on singing to myself but really that is just to keep folks at bay if I am honest. And what I might be listening to may surprise you. Or not.


Glad we had this chat.


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