Wednesday, May 07, 2003

This week has been the week of the "Angry Black Man" in my life. Angry Black Man is sorta like Angry White Man except he still thinks that the white man is trying to oppress him in every way possible and that the rules of any store, government entity, or what have you do not apply to them anymore and they will feel the need to yell at you if you do anything to cross them or "oppress" them once again. One friend's opinion of the ABM is that they expect to be treated better than anyone else because they are black and were once oppressed by the evil white people. I'm sure people have their own ABM definition depending upon their own personal experiences.

Case in point, Monday night I'm at the Duane Reade. Mind you there are two lines with about three to four people in each line. We're all being very nice and patient and things are just moving along fine. ABM enters the store and instead of getting in line walks right up to the counter and expects to be serviced. The women behind the counter (both black mind you) ask him to step to the end of the line as there were people in front of him when he entered the store.

He refuses.


He says that the days of slavery are over and that he doesn't have to go to the back of the line for anybody anymore. He's there and he wants to be served. The women again politely ask him to step to the end of the line and say that they do not allow people to jump to the front of the line to be served. He says he's not moving and when it the cashiers are done with their customers they refuse to help him and call for the next person in line. The security guard (again, also black) gets into now and says the same thing to ABM who still says he's not moving and they are going to take care of him right then and there.

Finally, it's my turn to go up in line. I motion to the cashier that she can handle this guy and pretty much just get it over with because he was causing such an uproar and, let's face it, the sooner he got out of line, the better it would have been for everyone.

I thought I was doing the right thing.

"Oh no, sir. You're next in line. Come on up. He has to learn his lesson that we don't do that," said my cashier. I was like..."Um, okay...thought I was doing the right thing."

So as I'm being rung up, ABM, who has now become the REALLY ANGRY Black Man, says that I'm a slaveowner and how I've done nothing but keep him down for years. Well, I lost my sense of decency and decided to take a little liberty with my family background. I told him that my father's parents immigrated here from Ireland during the potato famine and couldn't get work or shop in certain places because there were signs that said, "No Irish." I told him that my mother's father was from Indonesia and her mother from the Netherlands and they had problems finding housing because of my grandfather's race. Now mind you some of this is true and a lot is not but since he didn't know that, I really didn't care. It shut him up for about three seconds before he responded with a loud, "Well, fuck you then."


Then there was the ABM on the train this morning whose foot got stepped on by a very short white woman who was pretty much pushed into the subway by the crush of people behind her determined to get into the car. She apologized to everyone around her that she had bumped into including the ABM. Not good enough.

He yelled at her from 86th Street to 72nd Street and she stood there and took the abuse (even when he said he had "a blade" and would stab her). When she got to 72nd Street she got off the train, turned to him, and gave him the finger.

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