Friday, November 11, 2005

No hablo ingles

On Saturday, Robert and I were walking through Central Park, just north of the zoo, discussing the merits of living uptown when we saw a tiny boy grab his mother's pantleg and scream, "I hate black people!" He looked three years old. His mother leaned over and said, "Shhh! You can't just SAY that." He screamed: "I ONLY LIKE WHITE PEOPLE!"

Robert and I stood still for a minute, agape, until I said, "So much for raising a family on the Upper East Side."

Two days later, I was pacing the sidewalk in front of Angelica's Kitchen, telling the story to my friend Liz in Atlanta. "Do you believe that?" I asked her.
"Um, Sarah, of course I do," she said. "That's no different than Nashville."
"Really?" I said. "I don't think, in my whole life, I'd ever seen a bigot wearing diapers. And he didn't just come up with that himself, which is the worst part. He's learned from some adult that it's normal to feel that way."
"Right, right," Liz said, "he just hadn't learned that it's not quite as cool to feel that way in public."

Five minutes later, we got off the phone and I was heading inside for soup and steamed vegetables when I realized that if I didn't call Robert back before six my time, he'd be asleep.
"Hi," I said when he answered. "How are you?"
Just then, three African American boys (they looked like they were eleven or twelve years old) walked past and the one closest to me, eating a huge bag of Cheet-Os, said, "Yo, girl, you got a fat ass."
I turned around and looked at him and he looked right back and popped a Cheet-O in his mouth as he kept walking. "Did you hear that?" I said to Robert and then told him what happened.
"That's hilarious," he said.
But I don't think it was so funny. Unless, of course, it was p-h-a-t, in which case it's less offensive but somehow, no less dubious. Sometimes, very rarely, I wish I didn't speak English.

2 Comments:

Blogger Urban Barbara said...

Sarah,
thank you so much for your comment on my blog (both the acknowlegment and your take on pass or not).

my skin is crawling reading this post. yes, the adults breed and teach the kids to be bigots, but as you saw, it doesn't matter if you're uptown or downtown...someplaces just cover it up more...or less

I would have been really pissed about the fat/phat thing.

hwo rude, arrognat, none of his business, and how DARE a man make a comment about your physical appearance....
sometimes it's just as bad to hear "nice ass" because a woman becomes reduced to her ass.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous camille said...

I don't think these two anecdotes should be together. I understand how they are temporally related but as a complete idea it comes off racist.

9:59 PM  

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