Saturday, March 18, 2006

girl, check out those zebras!

last night cc and i met up with our girl ray and ray's highschool friend k to see ray's college buddy perform on the south side. the start time listed was 8:30 p.m. we met up and went to the performance area, where about 15 people were milling around. they all seemed to know each other. The guy who was to perform wasn't anywhere around, except for the posters of him sitting on easels all around the lobby. a few people from his entourage who knew ray came up, hugged us and said hello. the show was not on time. 2 hours late. and there were a lot of opening acts. but we were there to see ray's friend, who did not end up going on until midnight.

most of the people around ignored us. like we were furniture. but some of them stared. like we were zoo animals. who had tails. or horns or something.

while we were waiting, we hung out at the bar and talked to a few people who seemed to think we were a novelty, being the only ones who were different. it's really amazing how you could live in the same city as a group of people, yet still seem so foreign to them. ray and k were especially disturbed by this, taking note of everyone who did a double take, or said stuff like, 'welcome ladies! we're ALL about the variety here!' or 'you're not leaving, are you? please don't leave!' or 'we're not going to steal your coats, we have a coat check you know' (we had been holding onto them for ray/k's trips outside for a smoke). cc made a good point: if we really thought that, we would have never come. sometimes people are quick to jump to conclusions.

i'm not sure how cc felt, but none of this stuff bothered me 1/10 as much as it did ray and k. maybe because i'm not caucasian? who knows. but quite possibly it's because as a person of color, i've been in that situation more times in my life than i can remember, and the what-the-hell-are-they-staring-at-me-for feeling is definitely not a new one. after awhile you realize people are curious or surprised and usually don't mean any harm. but that takes time. ray and k were considering leaving, they were so uncomfortable. but we all stayed.

RAM, ray's friend, was good. much better than his opening acts. and his sister was very talented, too, american-idol caliber. RAM was very sweet; having seen us in the audience he came over after the show to say hello and invite us to the afterparty. the fact that they were entertaining made the wait not so bad.

overall it was an interesting experience, despite the uncomfortable bits. but i honestly believe every person should be put in that kind of situation at least once in her/his life-- feeling out of place and under a microscope for no reason other than being who you are, in a way that is easy to see and impossible to hide. just to know what it's like.

7 comments:

Ale said...

staring-? comeon girl, what did i teach you? you should have scratched your boob, or picked your nose... and when they made the comment abt coats, you should have stuck your middle finger in your mouth given it a few good sucks and stuck it right out to his face- and than with your best brittish accent should have said- SOD OFF wanker!

Psychic Pimp said...

I feel ya chica. Every person should experience at least once in their lives what its like to be the minority. It’s the type of learning that can only happen by experiencing the world and stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s a wake up call…..open your eyes and try to walk in other people’s shoes.

justanothersarah said...

I chose to advise an African-American religious organization to step outside of my comfort zone - both race-wise and religion-wise.

It's been a great experience for me!

Jon said...

I have a feeling that some of my future endeavors are going to put me in just that position… I’ll let you know how it goes. We’ll use the number of rotten tomatoes thrown as a barometer of just how much I don’t belong.

Katie said...

I Went to Tibet in October, and got to feel what it's like to really be noticed for something outwardly different then inwardly. It wasn't too strange, because in highschool, for whatever reason, people treated me like I did have horns or something and avoided me, and stared quite a bit. I think it's because I read for enjoyment, and that was something of a novelty.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Tee hee, sheepish grin, confession time and all...

We West Indians STARE at everyone, even folks we're accustomed to seeing. It's not that we're being hostile, we're just damn 'faas' [curious].

I'm a starer, and I get stared at too.

hehe sheepish grin...

Radioactive Jam said...

I think you're right about people benefitting from being on the receiving end of others' stares etc. But once might not be enough; I know *my* ability to rationalize and/or deny is pretty strong for dealing with things that don't fit inside my neat little mental boxes.