Monday, February 15, 2010

11:23PM Cheesecake factory and Valentine's

I'm unable to sleep so I thought it would be a good time to blog. After much snow here on the east coast, I was having a bit of cabin fever so I thought this would be a good day to hit the mall. My drug of choice would be White Flint Mall, because I like that Talbot's store. I arrived around 11:10 not realizing that the stores in the mall open at noon on Sunday. Cheescake factory restaurant of course was open, so whats a girl to do especially on Valentine's day but have brunch. The receptionist greeted me and asked if I would like to be seated, but I choose to sit near the bar and just sort of be out of the way. When you are of color, your mind clearly is aware of other people of color in the area, which there happened to be three other black woman, sitting alone on Valentine's morning either drinking a mimosa, or another beverage of choice. At first glance the realities of their lives escaped me. After placing my order the women a few seats over from me smiled pleasantly, and I nodded in gest, then said I said that I didn't realize the stores were not open until noon. I'll call this woman "E". "E" kindly explained the Sunday schedule for the mall and made a toast to Valentine's day. I smiled and said the same to her then made a comment to the effect that I had never seen so many black wait staff at that Cheesecake location. Given the number of years that I have lived in this area and have frequented that mall, there was a time when not that long ago that blacks were just the cooks or the bus boys.

My comments led to a Sunday confessional especially since "E" said she just came from church and really didn't want to go home to cook for herself. All I kept thinking was please don't ask me if I go to church, I just updated my profile on facebook, where it says religon, I changed it from none to atheist. I learned that "E" was highly educated and is certainly a minority in her field. Over the years she has taken a beating from white men who are intimidated by her knowledge. "E" said that in order to get along at this point, she has to dumb herself down, just to be a team player. My mind kept racing back to my years in college when I had to write a paper about why 50% of educated black women never marry, and this was 25 years ago. Clearly the stats have not changed. Is the chasm just too high or do a lot of men feel exactly like John Mayer when he said in his playboy interview that "My d--- is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f-----’ David Duke c---."

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