Tuesday, February 17, 2009
oh please god no
If there’s one thing on this earth that makes me incredibly uncomfortable, it’s witnessing older white men try to urban-up their language when speaking to black people.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive to it because I’m guilty of it myself. Sometimes I think to myself, hey, I’m a creative guy…what’s wrong with a couple extra mans and dudes when I’m trying to ingratiate myself to someone? Crissy usually calls me out on it when I’m really laying it on thick. She can instantly tell the difference between sincere Kevin-speak and my not-so-subtle verbal ass-kissery.
But really what I’m talking about is hearing older white men try to add their own special brand of urban-ness to sentences where it doesn't belong.
For example, sometimes the super-friendly black cashier at my work cafeteria likes to whip up special, sample sized coffee concoctions to hand out to people for taste tests.
So, once he made a cinnamon-pumpkin latte with a touch of honey, and offered one to me, and one to the older white gentleman in front of me. And the guy in front of me chuckled and sniffed and said, “Oh that’s cool. I’m not down with cinnamon-pumpkin.”
Then there was the time I was at the gym, and I overheard a clean-cut, banker type with a crisp new haircut in the middle of a personal training session with his black trainer, say, “My boy back home has been into the yoga thang.”
Then there was this morning. I was in line at Starbucks, when a tall slender man in his 50’s with sensible slacks and wayfarer sunglasses casually ordered a grande coffee from a twenty-something white kid.
But when the older gentleman stepped up to the black woman at the register to pay, suddenly the name of his order became a “grande coffaaayyyy.” Then he bit his bottom lip and did a tiny, almost imperceptible, knee-bend bob to "Buffalo Soldier."
And I cannot for the life of me get the image out of my head.
I think I need to go home and put a cold-compress on my aching brain.
Posted by s. moe at 11:25 AM