Monday, June 10, 2013

Pre-Movie Conversations: Strangers

So I was waiting to see a movie after interning. I sat in Haagen Dazs as it rained and it was pouring. Trains were delayed and the movie started at 5:10 and it was 5:30. I sat there hoping the rain would stop and a questioned pierced my ears, "Are you Ethiopian?" the stranger asked. I turned around thinking I think I looked African wearing my headscarve, which I don't wear while interning. He was fair-skinned complexioned with a long neck. He talked with such excitement, like a little kid. I was taken back by the questioned and thought maybe this was how he made a connection with women. No one has ever asked me if I was African but I have heard you look Haitian or Dominican. We had an interesting conversation about him not having African-American friends. I thought of the movie Little Senegal about the relationship between Africans and African-American and how they disrespected each other. He said his name was Mike and that he's been living in Maryland for two years now.

 He said, "They listen to that garbage, you call that music." 

He spoke to me like I wasn't African-American but he was insulting my heritage. His ancestors are mine. 

How can he look down us? I asked which genre of music "Was it Hip-Hop, R&B, Rap? They're are different." 

He looked at me baffled and said, "They're the same."

 He said, "Well maybe they're[African-Americans] different because my culture is older; it goes back thousands of years." 

I wondered did he think about slavery. Or did he think about a nation of people being mentally and physically stripped for 400 years of their culture. Did he ever think of that. Malcolm was right when he said we are generation X. We are not connected to Africa because some of us know nothing about the continent. 

He wasn't opened to learn yet he acted as though I wasn't in the stereotypical category. 

He said, "My friends look at me strange if I talk to an African-American woman." 

Then he said, "Can you be my friend?"

It was weird he seemed pushy as he moved on to another subject saying he liked my bag and pulling my arm as he said, "Come on let's get ice-cream!"I thought I don't know you why are you so pushy and how can you act like you know me. 

It was almost as though he erased our previous conversation about him insulting my culture and covered it with something pleasant like ice-cream. You cannot do that. 

He said, "I don't want to talk about this anymore."
 I said, "Do you not want to talk about this because it's getting too deep."

He asked for my number and I took his but I had an uneasy feeling. He was still a curious, but pushy stranger.

The "I'm of African Descent" Phoenix

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