"i'm not trying to be a bigot but..."

tonight i worked, bar tended. i had a group of about 10 "older"
clients come in. i'd guess them to be in their mid 40's. i say "older"
because for the crowd at my bar they were.

apparently they had rented a limo to go out on the town. i'm not sure if that paints a picture of the type of people they were for you, but for me it says something- and it's not something complimentary.

after ordering a round of drinks two of them called me over to talk. they wanted to go dancing and our d.j. wasn't on yet. so we talked about where they could go & when our bar would pick up. and then the question comes...

"does it get dark in here?"

i look him dead in the eyes and say, "i don't know what you're talking about."

"dark, ya know- black"

and i'm at a loss for words. i say nothing.

"i'm not trying to be a bigot, but will we be safe?"

baffled. "yes, of course."

it pained me deeply. this is the privilege of racism that mixed folks get all the time. i am offended by most racist comments even if they are not directed toward or even concerning my "race" why? because it's all the same.

this ignoramus just decided that it was okay to say to me. to anyone for that matter.

i didn't say anything. i wanted to say..."i'm black." i wanted to say "your aren't trying to be a bigot, you ARE being a bigot." i wanted to say..."we're in center city, you idiot." i wanted to point out his fear of black people. his ugly fucking shortcoming. but, i let him be and just felt sad.

sad because sometimes i hate blending into any crowd. sad because it took me years to work this stuff out within me- to even understand what i was and to accept that. to not be afraid of this type of attitude that i encountered constantly when i was growing up in the suburbs. sad for the other ambiguous race folks that hear this type of talk as often as i do.

and then i thought of this photo. i thought of my project. i thought, i have to write about this. i thought of all the beautiful mixed blooded people that were at my opening celebrating their OWN community for once. not having to fit in or blend, just comfortable in a space with a crowd of people who share this experience that often feels really, really lonely.

and knowing that i've taken these photos and have this project makes me feel comfort on some level because i have a voice today. because i'm not scared like i used to be. because, i love myself and all that i'm made of today. and if i helped anyone that participated in my project to share some of those feelings or to think of that representation when they face these issues, well, i feel good about that too. our experience is surely unique as well as a gift and i realize that today and i'm ever so grateful for it.

oh, and one more thing in closing. there was no "black crime" at my bar tonight. just two white girls that fought until the lights had to be put on, the music was stopped and there was blood everywhere. so...so much for summing that one up to race.