Damon Young recounts the most racist thing he’s ever done.
There’s a belief among some educated Black (and White) people that Blacks—well, American Blacks—cannot be racist. Racism, to them, is more about power and possessing the ability to oppress than any beliefs or feelings held about other races. And, since Black Americans don’t wield enough political or financial power to oppress, we’re unable to be racist.
While I guess I see where they’re coming from, this theory is, well, bullshit. Anyone can possess any trait—positive or negative—even if that particular trait isn’t usually associated with them. We (Blacks) can be racists. Women can be misogynists. Laker fans can have integrity. Ray Lewis is a murderer, and no one seems to give a damn. The list goes on.
Anyway, I’m bringing this up because I did some racist-ass shit the other day. Super racist. Undeniably racist. Hilariously racist. So racist that it made the full transition from “racist” to “ridiculous,” causing me to even say “Damn. That was some racist-ass shit” right after it happened. And, although the story makes me laugh every time I think about it, calling it anything other than racist-ass shit would be disingenuous.
As some of you may be aware of, there are certain parts in certain cities where attempting to find food at night becomes an exercise in futility. And, by “there are certain parts in certain cities where attempting to find food at night becomes an exercise in futility” I mean “if you live in a predominately Black neighborhood, there’s a good chance that within the last year or so, a delivery boy has been robbed, shot, or stabbed within a two block radius of where you currently are.”
Restaurants located in these areas close a little earlier than those in other neighborhoods, and, most notably, you have a better chance of finding a virgin at a Delta convention than finding a place that might actually deliver food after 8pm.
A friend of mine lives in one of these areas. Admittedly, she lives in the “nice” part of the neighborhood, but lets just say that the neighborhood’s reputation precedes itself. Once, while sitting on her couch next to her while she was attempting to order a pizza, I was able to hear the person on the other end of the phone literally laugh aloud when she told them where she lives. It wasn’t a chuckle, either. This motherf*cker guffawed.
A few weeks ago, though, we had a breakthrough. We both happened to be on her porch when a small car sped to a awkward stop a few feet in front of her place. An Asian-looking man jumped out, carrying a couple pizzas and a bag of pop, walking very briskly, and dressed inappropriately (it was maybe 35 degrees and he was wearing a windbreaker, some sweats, and a hat). Basically, everything about this man—his awkward and abrupt parking, his demeanor, his attire, the way he was carrying the food, and, most importantly, his Asian-ness—screamed “delivery boy.”
Elated that we finally found a place that delivered to the neighborhood, we called out to the guy as he walked past.
Us: “Hey, where are you from?”
Us: “What place do you work for? We thought no one delivered to this block.”
Him: “Um, I’m not a delivery boy. I live right there. This is my food. I’m going home.”
Us: “Sorry bout that.”
Him (in his head): “F*ck you”
Him (to his Facebook page later that night): “I love the RZA, but I hate Black people”
Ironically, the people being racially profiled—us for living in that area—ended up racially profiling someone ourselves. Admittedly, if he was White or Black and was dressed/acted the same way, we might have asked the same question. But, his Asian-ness—and us assuming that “small Asian man dressed like one of the Mario Bros” couldn’t possibly equal anything other than “delivery boy”—made our query so damn confident. There was no doubt in our minds that he wasn’t delivering food. No hesitation, no nothing.
Now, does that experience mean that I’m a racist? I don’t think so. I played basketball a couple times last week, but I doubt anyone would call me a “basketball player.” But, whether this experience actually counts as “racism” or not, I know what definitely would: Saying that I—by virtue of being Black—am unable to be racist (or sexist, or smart, or…anything)