Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Orange Line (Alt Title: Am I Racist?)

The orange line is the most interesting line. It heads south to many average joe southside parts. Many latino areas, many semi-deserted black areas. It crosses paths with the green line (the most south). But also it goes to the airport. So on the el platform at any time there are like a bunch of Mexican high school girls and an uncomfortable white couple holding suitcases and a little old black woman and a few guys rapping. These are important demographics to consider in the context of the story.

So I was waiting for the train to get to the class I teach out yonder and noticing this extremely well-dressed guy near me. He was wearing a grey suit with matching earmuffs. He had blond, clean-cut hair. He was white. Then I got distracted because I realized a dude was talking to me since he didn't see the headphones in my hood. I took them off, and he was trying to pick me up by asking, "You pigeon-toed?" He asked if I had a boyfriend, and when I told him he did, he said, "Yeah, but can you have friends?" I said yes. He asked for my number, and I said no. He said, "So how are we gonna be friends!?" I said we were train friends. He said, "Find me when your boyfriend messes up." I texted this to Bisque who responded, "Do you have your mace?"

The train arrived and a few minutes into the journey someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was that metro arian guy. He told me his phone died and asked if he could call his ride with mine. Without even a second of hesitation I said, "Sure" and handed it over. It felt normal because I had been studying him so much my brain probably accidentally thought we were friends. I don't know. Or, I am racist? As soon as I gave him the cell I immediately was aware how blase I was. It was a quiet car, and the crowd of minorities all saw. I suddenly became very stiff and worried I had been way too unconcerned with this stranger stealing from me. I started to think of other things I should have done to be kind but careful. I should have asked to hold his out of battery phone as ransom? Get his driver's license number? Call for him? Hold him in a headlock until he was finished? I settled for looking extremely worried and pointy. I stared at him and readied my body to pounce as if this powderpuff could burst out of the train window and sky dive to a getaway car. Nothing happened, and I put on a show of being kinda gruff to take back my phone and stuff it into my pocket. The old white man next to me fished for a tissue and bumped my side. I aggressively checked my pockets to be sure he didn't secretly mug me.

A. I don't think I was actually racist. I think I was prejudice based on his very nice attire. I think any color of person with the same attire I would have treated the same. Still prejudice, but at least not racism.
B. Worrying about seeming racist made me mean.

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