Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Day of Shopping and Racism...

It has been a long day. I normally spend my Saturdays at home chillin. I make sure I do as little as possible so I can rest from the past week. Today, however, it was decided by a group of us that we are going to the outlet mall to shop. Let me preface this by saying that the Tax refund was really good to me. I don't want people thinking that just because my ass finally got some new clothes that I am raking in the money, because I am not.

I am not a hardcore shopper. I never just shop for the sake of shopping. There was somethings I need to take care of that had been lacking in my wardrobe. So, the most important thing is that I shop based on need. I cannot say that for some of the other people I am with, but this blog is not about them (sorry..Eddie, Josie, and Maria). Trust me, they needed stuff too.

It just feels so good to get something new that replaces something old. I was in dire need of a new coat. Now, I love my coat it is warm and it gets me through the cold blasts of wind that Syracuse has. My trusty coat just had a rough time. The zipper is broken, the buttons were falling off, and I have holes in the pockets (Geez....It really does not look as bad as I am describing). I could not take my coat to get fixed because I did not have a back up. I did get the buttons sewn on but, it was time for a new one. By, the way, I don't plan on throwing it out...that sucker is getting dry cleaned and a new zipper.

Clearly I came away with a new coat. Got some other new digs and a new wallet. So I am quite happy about what turned out to be an all day experience for us. I wont drop any store names, but if you ask I will tell. The only things were bothering me were the actions of other people. Now, I want to be clear here. We are a very successful group of people who just happened to be brown. We all work for Syracuse University and are not dumb nor poor. We went to the Warterloo Premium Outlets so we can shop and have some fun in a city where there is very little to do.

There were four separate cases in which we encountered prejudice from white people. These are obvious cases that were noticed by the group, so I am not making this up to make this particular post interesting. Again, I wont name establishments because there is no point, these are just attitudes of ignorant people.

The first case was in one of the first stores we go into. We look around and I already see that many of these things are nice, but they are not in my price range. But, I am nice and I look around. Eddie loves this store and he is looking at everything. This old white man, who was the store clerk, kept a nice watchful eye on us of course. Eddie goes to look at something in particular and the clerk immediately points on that is not on sale.

The second case happened in one of my favorite stores. Eddie and I split up from the women to go to the male stores, so this was one of the first places we hit. I can walk in this place and see exactly what I want. Eddie is not like that. This man can shop! So he is all over the place. So I make my selections and I pay for it, but I now I have to wait for him. So I watch him mull over what he wants and then he heads toward the counter. Now, in many stores they have a waiting area where the line is supposed to start. There is a sign and then the designated line is roped off in front of the counter. You really cannot miss this. This white dude, who clearly is too privilege to read any signs walks up in front of the rope. At first, I was thinking, maybe he knows one of the women who is making a purchase. Eddie who is on his phone texting, and is technically the only person on line, does not see this man. The cashier calls next and (I shit you not) this guy looks at Eddie and says "sorry" and goes up to the counter and gets rung out. Eddie looks at me and he just sighed...

The third case was when we were being seated to eat lunch. The waitress bring us to our tables and we sit down next to this white couple who had many bags from other stores. So they move the bags in what seemed to in a polite way since it was in the way of where I was going to sit. But, after getting the menu, I begin to notice that the white lady is just not comfortable with where her bags were. She kept moving them further and further way from me. I was a little annoyed by this, but what can you do? (see below)

The last case was right after lunch. We went back to the same store because homeboy needed to have this jacket that he noticed in the window was we walked out to go to lunch. He tries on this coat and yes it looks fly. So he goes to pay for it and the cashier, who just happens to be a white male, comments on how nice the jacket was. Then he points out to Eddie, "You know, this is not on sale". Eddie looks at him and gives him his card and replies, "Yes, I know and I can afford you too"

These instances are all minor in the grand scheme of things. We had a great time and I would do that again. It just goes to show that no matter how far we think we are...someone is always trying to knock us down. Well here is my response to that...


E.Payne said...

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to assist shoppers while I'm shopping. One time even by a person who worked in the store! I do think it's something that can be addressed. My usual responses are:
"I'm shopping here just like you."
"Do I have a name tag on?"
"I do have on jeans and a jacket don't I?"
I just stare at the person until they realize their mistake.

And as far as being cut on the line, black, white, purple whatever I don't let that slide at all because it is a lack of acknowledgment of your personhood. If a cutter tries to get away with it, I go to the counter. The only time I don't care is when I REALLY am too tired to care.

The classic white woman with her bags scenario. Here's my answer to that.

Thought provoking. My post tomorrow will engage some similar ideas.

Anonymous said...

People's blantant racism never fails to surprise me. I guess I want to see the good in people, but instances such as these convince me that this country has a long way to go before everyone is seen as true equals.


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