Thursday, May 20, 2010

This morning as I finished running and stretching, and I was headed towards home, I noticed a gentleman and his dogs. He also appeared to headed towards his house, and he barely noticed his dogs staring at me as I got closer to them. Then, as dogs so often do in these situations, they starting barking up a storm and the gentleman turned around and saw me, as he took his keys out of his pockets. I gave the dogs my customary pet greeting which is to say, "Hey buddy!" and then give them the JaVale McGee salute.

But I noticed this gentleman could not decide whether he wanted to put his keys into the door, or look back at me. He would fumble with his keys, then look back at me (without speaking I might add), then look back at his door, and all the while the dogs kept barking. Eventually I passed him and his dogs, but I kept looking back at this guy staring at me. Finally he opened the door to his house, told his dogs to hurry up and he quickly shut the door. Immediately, I thought of about 3 or 4 different things

1)I thought to myself, here is this white man and his dogs, and he MUST be completely paranoid that I'm going to rob him, or attempt to gain entry in his house. He must be thinking that way, because if he wasn't, he would have either said good morning or at least appeared to have been much more relaxed.

2)I didn't exactly look like someone who was on the up and up (whatever that means). I was sweaty, I was tired, I was breathing heavily, and I kept digging in my pockets (for my ipod), so Lord only knows what he thought I was doing. Plus, saying "Hey buddy" to pets is not exactly the best way to convince people that you are sane. I could have put this guy at ease by saying "good morning sir" like most friendly neighbors do

3)If the tables were turned, and I was attempting to enter my house with my friendly little canines, my paranoid ass would absolutely do the same thing this man did. I would keep looking back, I would get my keys out and in the door quickly, and I would not take my eyes off whoever was passing by until I was in the house. And even then, I'd stare at them through the window until they were out of my field of vision. It wouldn't matter if they were black or white..I'm just paranoid like that. Perhaps this guy felt the same way. Its not like there haven't been home invasion in DC recently

4)I wondered if this guy was really torn between being paranoid and being nice. Maybe he was trying to get into his house as quickly as possible, without giving the appearance that he was trying to do that, because he thought that would piss me off. If that's what he was doing, that would be an impossible balance to strike at 6:30 in the damn morning.

Sure enough, when I completely left that guy and got to my door, there were two Hispanic gentlemen walking by, and I initially treated them the same way the white guy had treated me. I stared, I fumbled with keys, and I played with my imaginary dogs (that's a lie). Then I quickly snapped out of it, and said, "good morning" to both of them, and they hit me with an "Hola!". As I showered this morning, I thought to myself, this is why race relations are so jacked in this country and possibly beyond. There's no dialogue, no discussions, just assumptions made based on past unresolved feelings and issues--and I'm just as guilty as the next man.

I won't attempt to tie this up with a nice little bow of an ending, I just wanted to share.

Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey - Sly & The Family Stone
This title always throws people off until they listen to chorus, and then they're like ohh, I get it. So don't get thrown off

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