Tag Archives: race

Racial Profiling

Forgive my blatant racism, but here’s a list of the most respectable group of men (from most to least respectable), by race, based solely on who has been standing up to give me their seat on the subway in this last trimester of pregnancy.

  1. Black men. All the medals. imgres-1imgres-1imgres-1Seriously. Every. Fucking. Time. Yesterday two black men actually started playfully arguing over which one of them wanted to give me his seat more. So I settled the dispute by letting them both stand, and placing one butt cheek in each seat. Everyone was a winner.
  2. Hispanic men. I’d say at least 3 or 4 hispanic men have stood for me in the past month, but yesterday’s was my favorite– covered in bright, intricate tattoo sleeves and roughly 30 piercings, he not only got up immediately to give me his seat, but he silently offered me his unopened bottled water as well. I just wish I hadn’t assumed his silence was a language barrier and replied with “No, pero gracias– muchas MUCHAS gracias senor!” because he answered with “Yeah no problem” and ZERO accent.
  3. Asian men. Only one Asian man so far, but he stood up and did a subtle little bow in the process, which just made me feel like pregnant princess royalty. It was so fucking adorable and stereotypically Asian (in the best of ways) that I’m going to go ahead and let him represent his entire race in politeness and decency.
  4. White men. What the fuck is wrong with you? This should be an easy competition for you to win based on the sole fact that there are statistically more of you. Yet not ONE of you has stood up. Not ONE! For real? Is this a Trump effect or have you guys always been THE WORST and I just never noticed? (meh, false. I dated and hated most of you, so in that sense I DID notice, but now we’re in a whole new playing field of douchbaggery). Funny how you catch a glimpse of me and suddenly receive the world’s most important, life-or-death text, which of course excuses you from getting up because obviously you’re now just too busy and panicked, what with all these urgent crises blowing up your phone THE EXACT MOMENT I STEP ONTO THE SUBWAY, despite there being no wi-fi or cell service. But just know this– I’m on to you. Even if you ARE immersed in an emergency (you’re not), there’s no way your peripheral vision is missing the huge boulder that is my midsection, especially when I make it a point to sigh heavily and line up my grotesque popped-out bellybutton thisclose to your stupid liar face. And I’d like to send out a special, personalized “fuck you” to the young white guy this morning who let the woman sitting next to him juggling 2 grocery bags and a stroller WITH A BABY INSIDE OF IT stand and offer her seat to me, and still did NOTHING. Obviously I did not take the woman’s seat and insisted she please not get up, but this was your opportunity to help out a pregnant woman and an overwhelemed mother in one fell swoop, and YOU BLEW IT, SIR.

So that’s it. Those are my findings*. Did I really need to break this down by race, and was doing so kind of offensive? No, I did not. And yes, probably? shrug_1f937 But I notice what I notice and thought it was an interesting trend, and unlike people who claim “I don’t see race,” I’d like to counter with “Ok, but I have eyes.”

*Findings of this study** are based solely on MY experience and observations alone. They should not be generalized to apply negative stereotyping to any particular group of people, which shouldn’t really be an issue as all races above are presented in a complimentary manner. Except, as a reminder, white men. They are all dicks.

**calling this a study is an insult to the word study.

 

The Day I Stopped Caring What Old People Think of Me

Years ago, fresh out of graduate school, I worked at a school in the suburbs and had an awesome boss. We’ll call her Diane. Diane was the principal at a predominantly white, predominantly Catholic private school. She was the only black person on the premises, and I was the only Jew, and I always felt like we had a special bond because of that (I am acutely aware that she likely did not feel the same).

Anyway, one day her 5-year-old son came to visit the school, and because we had this special bond (re: I was the only one standing there), Diane asked me to watch him in the yard while she made a quick phone call. He was a gorgeous little boy with huge, beautiful eyes and a vivacious spirit. As I was watching him, a coworker of mine came outside and sat next to me. She was a stuffy, judgmental old white lady who I had absolutely nothing in common with (other than our whiteness) and who, needless to say, never really “got” my sense of humor or personality in general.

It was clear she didn’t like me. But because I was young and insecure, and had a broad, all-encompassing respect for the older generation (a respect I now hand out more selectively, thanks in part to this woman but also thanks to the various old ladies who have spit at me on the streets of NYC), I still felt the need for her approval.

So I tried to strike up a benign, friendly conversation as we watched Diane’s kid climb the jungle gym. “He is just too much, isn’t he? Such a beautiful kid. Diane is in so much trouble when he gets older.”

The woman turned to me, completely unamused and said, “You know, it is subtle statements like that that keep racism alive and present. Most Caucasian people inherently just assume that African American children will grow up to be ‘trouble makers,’ and that attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for them. I don’t see why you would conclude, just from looking at an African American boy, that he will cause trouble when he’s older.”

I stared at her, stunned.

And in that moment, I decided I no longer gave a fuck what she thought of me. Yes, she was old enough to be my grandmother, but you know what? Grandmas are assholes, too.

The prospect of no longer having to impress her was altogether freeing.

“I think you misunderstood me. I said ‘Diane is going to be in trouble when he’s older,’ because he is gorgeous and girls will be falling all over him. Which was a joke. But, to be clear, a joke that had nothing to do with race, and zero to do with him making any actual ‘trouble.’ The fact that you would jump to that conclusion makes you, in fact, the subtle, underlying racist.”

Watching this stuffy old white woman’s face crumble was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.

A few days later, she removed the Swastika-adorned wigwams that had been decorating the entryway to her 2nd grade classroom.

So yeah. I’d say we both learned something that day.

 

3b57c2efe844d5cae0f9982a264fa11a

Yes. That’s Exactly What The Beatles Were Going For. 

Analyzing The Beatles’ song “Blackbird” with 4th graders…

Us (after listening to the whole song): “The lyrics repeat ‘blackbird fly’ over and over. What do you think this song might be about?”

Kid: “Freedom!”

Us (excited that for once, a kid is inching towards a non-literal interpretation…) “Ohhh, interesting! Explain!”

Kid: “BLACKbird. Like black people. Black people weren’t always free. So it’s saying black people should be free.”