One of the my favorite pleasures in life is simply taking a walk while listening to my iPod. It doesn’t matter if my walk is through the streets of Uptown Charlotte or through my neighborhood, Dilworth. Normally it’s The Beatles that grace my ears. Throw in a steaming hot cup of white chocolate mocha and I am in total bliss. Today I decided it would be an Uptown walk, but my bliss was cut short.
Half way through my stroll, John Lennon was serenading me with “Sexy Sadie” and I caught myself singing out loud around a gaggle of teenagers. I kind of felt sorry for them since my voice has been described to be worse than that of a burning cat. Yet, my minor embarrassment was immediately thrust into sadness when my iPod died. I had forgotten to charge it last night. Oh well, I still had the music on my Blackberry. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be The Beatles.
Fumbling through the artists, stacking each one up with my current mood, I finally settled on Fleetwood Mac. However, I was interrupted before I could press play and call forth Stevie’s beautiful, vibrating voice.
“Hey!” I heard and looked up.
Standing in front of me was a tall man with the friendliest smile you had ever seen. He brought back memories of Scatman Crothers, who was always enjoyable to watch when he was alive.
He started off with a basic question for directions. Nothing too difficult and I was happy to point him in the right direction. I began to insert my earbuds back into my ears.
“One more thing,” he began, “How about helping me out with money for a cab?”
I really should have seen that one coming.
“Sorry, Man. I don’t have anything on me.” I told him.
“Come on. I ain’t gonna buy no alcohol I promise.” he said. This irritated me just a bit but I
smiled and began walking away.
Then, as my back was fully turned I heard him one last time.
“White, Redneck, Bastard!” He literally screamed it. WTF? Where the hell did that come from?
I guess some people just see color of skin. We do not take enough time to consider what may be going on in other’s lives. I do not expect him to automatically know that I have been out of a job since July. I do not expect him to know how I live my life (meaning redneck is far from who I actually am.) I do not expect him to know that my parents were married when I was conceived and born.
BUT…. I do not expect him to see the color of my skin and immediately categorize me into a group of people. I do not expect him to immediately assume that my white skin entitles me to riches. I do not expect him to assume by the color of my skin my refusal to hand over cash comes from any prejudice. That is far from who I am. (I rarely give cash to anyone by the way. And that goes for people of all skin tones.)
I am sure he has been through many things in his life that have been very hard. Most likely, judging by his apparent age he has had to endure much prejudice. That does not mean he has the right to demand anything from me. Nor does it mean I am required to make amends for others ignorant actions.
Trying to keep everything as civil as possible I made one last comment back. I feel it was pretty appropriate.
“Get over yourself.”
iPod is now charged and I’m heading out to walk in the neighborhood. He isn’t going to ruin my simple pleasures.