Saturday, September 20, 2008

they kill roaches, don't they?

A little while ago I was sitting on the front stoop, reading a book. I had a thought about race, because the guy who lives across the hall came home with two friends trailing him. He and his friends are white; his girlfriend, with whom he lives, is black. The other day I saw them walk out of the building hand in hand. In June, they threw a going away barbecue for a friend who was moving back to Chicago. Most of the block came, and they held court, like the queen and king of the neighborhood. Sitting on the stoop, I thought about how comfortable this neighborhood is for them, and the long way we've come in America for places like this to exist.

I went back to my book, and before long an old white man approached. He walked with a cane, but he was spry. I saw him coming on the periphery, but I didn't look up. To get my attention, he began to sing, "Oh-oh-oh," while looking in my direction, but not at me. He got louder when he knew I was listening. He sang:

Oh-oh-oh
the roaches are there
Everywhere you go
the roaches are there

He sang until he passed me, then fell silent and kept up his clip.

I came inside and read this.

12 comments:

Stacy said...

Oh my freaking goodness.... I think I would have been tempted to kick his cane (yes, I know that makes me a not nice person. But, I'd argue, I'm still nicer than him.) Why can't people in this country learn acceptance?

Annika said...

That article makes me sick and ashamed to be white.

Ellen Bloom said...

It's very sad that things like this still happen in our liberal neighborhood....let alone our entire country!

msaims said...

i didn't get it til i read the comments. (sorry stuff like that just goes over my head.) the shit thing is these people have children and grandchildren...

normanack said...

I can't think of a bad enough word for that singing man. "Evil" might be the closest.
The article shocked me. I truly thought we were at the verge of transcending issues of race.
When I think of Barack Obama, I think of his serious demeanor, his incredible intellect, his political views, his really cool wife Michelle, and that he looks really, really thin before I think of his race.
Please God don't let our country be so mean, so small-minded, so evil as to be racially prejudiced in this election.

Anonymous said...

I have no words, speechless!

I think if it had happened to me, I would be completely shocked and hurt, at first. Then I would probably recover and look around to see if there were potential witnesses, then I'd grab his cane and give him a good hard wack so as to break his knees. Then I'd help him up and tell him that is what people do to roaches.

If you or any of your readers need Asylum during or after the elections, call me.

Heather

travellersyarn said...

I can only hope that his attitude is also old, and will die out soon.

I'm also sorry that some white people hold such ugly beliefs.

j.kaori said...

Disturbing.

Hari said...

Just so you know, I would never answer a survey that asked me to judge "most blacks" just like I'd never answer a survey judging "most men" or "most Japanese". Poll-takers are really weird about what results they publish, you know. Like, say they surveyed 300 people, but how many people refused to answer because they were offended? Or, they chose the 300 surveys that yielded the most shocking answers.

Christie said...

Wow. Surprising but not, to be honest with you. I often hear, especially lately, that the generation coming up has no idea about racism and live in a world where they don't have to think about it. Personally, I think it's still here as much as ever, but they are mostly ignorant about it. And it's even harder when they don't have any knowledge of what blacks in this country have had to overcome so they can have the opportunities afforded to them today.

Elbee said...

What an ass.

woolanthropy said...

Wow...my mouth is hanging open.