Wednesday, May 05, 2010
I dunno, but it has something to to with race.
my dog Sonny is a 75lb greyhound who is really friendly. often when we're walking around he does this little side-to-side dance and pulls up his teeth in a "friendly smile." many people are put off by this as Sonny forgets that 2" fangs aren't endearing to humans. he's frightened many people on our walks so i try to avoid this as much as possible on our walks.
which brings me to our story for today: i was walking down the street and saw an African-American woman on her cell-phone sitting on some steps to my right. I notice Sonny start into his little "YAY! PEOPLE!" greeting dance and decide to push him over so he's walking on the curb, well away from the woman who is chatting away, facing the opposite direction. the last thing i wanted was her to turn around into a giant, gapping dawg maw. i mean do you really wanna turn and see THIS?! -->
so i pass the woman and hear her say something, but figure it's to the person who she's on the phone with. I walk a few more steps and she says, "I'm TALKING to you!" I glance back over my shoulder and she's staring right at me. I'm a bit shocked. so i say, "I'm sorry, I thought you were on the phone, you were talking to me?"
she states into her phone, "I'm gonna have to call you back." then to me, "Yeah. I SAID you too good to share the sidewalk with a black person?!"
i'm befuddled. i'm confused. i'm shocked. i don't get it. so i said, "Umm... no. I just didn't want him to startle you, you were on the phone after al..."
She cuts in "WELL YOU THINK ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF DOGS?"
"?" my face says as I'm literally too stunned for words.... "I...."
"That is a stereotype you know." she states.
"Well... every black person I know has a dog save for one family, but they just moved in. That doesn't make any sense..." i reply.
"MMMM-HMMM.." She states with a head-wiggle and an angry look on her face.
i pause, she still looks pissed, i feel my flight-response kick in and i say, "well, i'm sorry for the offense. I didn't mean anything. you take care now." and i walk away.
She gets up and walks across the street, dialing on her cell phone.
i read in YES! magazine how one youth program that focuses on race actually had to teach the youth the stereotypes so that they could then teach them how to overcome them. i thought this was really stupid and backwards, but after this encounter i think they might be right.
how would you responded? what was going on here? any insights? helpful responses?