Monday, March 07, 2016

In the Proximity of Racism....

It happened quite innocently. I stepped into the grocery store to pick up a couple of items.This particular market does not have a self check out line but it does have a "10 items or less" aisle. I only had three items so I went directly there.
A couple of people were ahead of me in line, but I wasn't paying much attention, just waiting my turn. What caught my eye was a publication on the magazine rack featuring a picture of Donald Trump.  I never purchase those magazines but I do like to gawk at the headlines just to see what sensational gossip is up for sale.  
My hands were full so I didn't reach for the magazine but did lean in to read the fine print.  A middle aged man came up behind me to wait his turn.  He saw me looking at Trumps picture and he said," That Trump, he's something, isn't he?" 
Now I am not much for small talk in a grocery store line.  I try to be polite but I really don't want to get into any sort of real conversation especially with this guy.  He was the age of one who could have been a SOAP watcher.  Especially when I am on a quick trip to the market I really don't want to be "recognized".  I know every performer and actor yearns to be famous and get recognized, but having experienced some of that in my career, it is not what it's cracked up to be.  Here is the truth.  The people you would love to talk to in that situation are the very ones who are polite enough to know this is not the time nor the place.  Those who see you as an object from television are the ones who have no sense of personal space nor an understanding of your discomfort. 
So when the guy behind me says something about the magazine I am staring at, I give monosyllabic answers so as not to engage, but still be polite.  In this case his statement, "That Trump, he's something," was vague enough to answer with a neutral position.  I simple said, "He certainly is."
In a perfect world at that moment the checker would have scanned my purchases and I would have been gone. It is not a perfect world.
The lady ahead of me had more than ten items. It was not an excessive overage but more than the rest of the people in line.  Because of this it was taking longer than usual in the express lane. The man behind me began to grumble.  Directed at me but loud enough for everyone in the area to hear he said, "Well it looks like someone can't read." There were glances at the man from several corners of customer's eyes.  He continued. "Perhaps the sign should have been written in Spanish." It was then that I realized the lady ahead of us was Latina.  The guy continued, "Maybe it is not a reading problem but a math problem, didn't they teach you to count? When you came over here for a free education, didn't you even try to learn?"
As she is paying the man sort of taps me on the arm, buddy style and says, "That's why we're voting for Trump right. Get that wall up and keep these people out of here. Make America Great again for Americans." 
The lady turned as she was leaving and gave a look. It was a sad, angry, screw you look that seemed to include me, because she assumed I knew him and was  of a like mind.  Legal, illegal, native born or immigrant , it didn't matter what her real status of citizenship is.  She was insulted by some ignorant, judgmental  ass hole because of her ethnicity.  I didn't like being associated with that attitude, even in error.  I wanted to run out and appologise to her or let her know in some way that I was not in lock step with that attitude, but she was long gone. I missed my chance forever.   She may have forgotten it by now, but I have not.
I am not a Trump supporter and if this guy's personality is typical of his base, then the country is going backwards with this campaign.  
As you were,

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