Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is This News to You Too?

I recently shared a meal with an older woman from the North Shore of Chicago. She's got to be in her 70's. She's very wealthy, she's very social, she's very stylish and I think maybe very ignorant...Or is she? Maybe it's not common knowledge.

She's very enthusiastic about Dan Seals' congressional campaign. She's very involved. I think that's just great. I'm glad she is so enthusiastic about this great man who could unseat Republican Mark Kirk.

Somehow we started talking about race and ideas about race and how Obama was viewed negatively at first by the African American community because they viewed him with suspicion as an African and not as one of themselves--Hillary had more support at that point. I brought up how Michelle Obama answered that--her husband, Barack, would still have a hard time hailing a cab at certain places at certain times. The woman at the table with me didn't know what I was talking about. So, I explained that sometimes, black people (men especially) have a hard time flagging down a cab. The taxi drivers won't stop for them and just pass them by.

She was completely surprised by this. She didn't know it, hadn't ever heard about it, didn't realize it.

I'm surprised at her being surprised. She's a sophisticated, worldly woman--how could she not know how an entire segment of society is wrongly treated in this country? How was this news to her?

Is this news to you too?


Holly said...

Ummm, No. I would be just as surprised by her response as you are...

Laura said...

I was bewildered. The chasm between haves and have-nots is so great, but I thought that maybe the haves had some understanding of where everyone else is.

You know there aren't boot straps to be found in some of these poor neighborhoods. If there are no jobs there in a blighted area, what is anyone supposed to do?

A middle class black man, or upper class black man is seen with the same jaundiced and tired eyes that view gangbangers and poor blacks in the inner city.

I know that--how come she didn't?

Heather said...

My husband is not African American. His family is all caucasian with German heritage, but my husband is dark skinned,
6'5" and has black hair which he keeps very short. He is often thought of as being a black man. It usually is not a problem, but last summer we went out to dinner in a neighboring small town in the mid-west. We were ignored for quite a while before the owner came up and told us that there would be no seeting availble for hours.....we could clearly see that this was not true! We have had other issues as well. I cannot believe that this woman could be ignorant to this situation. Wow!!!!

Laura said...

Yes. She's a North Shore Liberal, and very wealthy. Because of that, I think she's just led a very insulated life. In principle, she believes in social justice and equality and civil rights. In practice, she's not around anyone other than "her group" and she's ignorant as to the realities of day-to-day racism or systemic oppression.

I just thought someone with her level of sophistication would be worldly in this way as well. I thought she would know about various schools of art, the latest "in" food and that a black man has a hard time getting a cab sometimes.

Heather, I'm sorry for your husband's and your experience. I've had people tell me Jewish jokes not realizing I'm half Jewish...but, I can still get a table. Although, my husband and I have noticed that since we're not stylish, we get great views of kitchens. Still--it's a table.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...