Ever have your mind just wander? Mine ended up on the summer of ’97 as I thought back over my life on 1/1/11.
I was hanging out with my high school friends. We happened to be sitting on a corner stoop. I’ll never forget it. I remember feeling how different it was to hang out in Philly than it was when I lived in San Diego. Kids hung out on stoops here, like in the movies…like in any other big city probably. But like all teenagers across the country, we did nothing. We sat around contemplating what to do. It was hot and hazy. And that was fun. In my head, the whole scene has taken on a sepia tone, like it was that long ago.
Anyway, on this particular day of memory we were just sitting around on this stoop and 2 white boys rode by on bicycles, both of the wearing white wifebeater tanks, too skinny to really fill them out. And one of them saw me and yelled something about getting out of the neighborhood “‘Spic”. Ok. So now you’re probably wondering whether I got angry, yelled back, cried or what. Well, no. I stood there confused and mentally tabulated which one of my white friends they were talking to. Maybe one of them was half Puerto-Rican or Mexican or something. It was at this point that my friends quickly rallied up, screaming down the street at these kids for calling me a Spic. You should’ve seen it…everyone all riled up, yelling, standing up, gesturing. A scene of about seven girls around me screaming down the street. I don’t know. Maybe they were really ready for a fight. I’ll never know since it never came to that.
The scene always plays back in my mind in slow motion because I’m still, 13 years later, really amused by the whole spectacle. Seriously, here’s the thing, if you know anything about me you’ll know I’m not hispanic. I’m Asian (well, okay, I’m half). I’m light-skinned, with straight brown hair, small almond-shaped eyes, etc. I look Asian. So to be so hatefully treated was kind of humorous and sad at the same time since these asinine boys couldn’t even get their slurs right. Further, I couldn’t even respond quickly because I was caught off guard and seriously thought they were talking to someone else.
So this is what I always think back to whenever the topic of racism comes up because, usually, the prejudicial doer ends up looking stupid in some form and proudly displays their completely misinformed and uneducated mindset. I mean if you’re going to have convictions about people, at least get it right in some way. But these boys automatically assumed the non-white kid was of hispanic descent. They were so off the mark I didn’t even get it right away. I really didn’t have to say anything to make them look dumb. It was nice of course that my friends had my back and when all was said and done and everyone was calm I remember one of them apologizing that I was treated that way.
Hey, I don’t care! I mean, I do, but really in this situation it was too funny to be angry. Does no one see the humor in this?! And then, finally, one of my friends mentioned they got the friggin’ slur wrong. Yes! Finally! Do you see the stupidity in this situation? We just saw 2 morons ride down the street on their way to their annual convention of moronic events, dressed to the nines, who couldn’t even assess their racism correctly.
So now that we’re in 2011 do you think things are different? Doubtful, but at least I’ll always have that scene to remind me why being racist just looks so stupid.