The world is a mirror; show yourself in it and it will reflect your image.” – Ashanti
People tell me that news reports often omit the color/race of the people in the reports if the persons are Caucasian. True or false? While you think about it (maybe) I – an African American, will present some everyday moments in the alleged style of news reports.
Moment #1: I was on a very crowded bus in Chicago. The driver had to keep barking at passengers to move to the back. I observed a young black man get up and give his seat to an elderly passenger. He did this every time he had a seat but then observed an elderly passenger needing a seat. He did so regardless of the color of the elderly passenger. Kudos for this young man’s polite, considerate-of-elders behavior that challenged the negative stereotypes that young black males receive.
Moment #2: I had almost finished transcribing the poem “Itching Heels” by African American poet, novelist and playwright, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) from “Negro” dialect into Standard English but could not transcribe the word “chu’ched.” I phoned the Chicago Avenue library to see if someone there could help me. A young male (Aaron) looked up the poem and told me that Dunbar’s (“Ebonics”) word in Standard English was “churched.” I thanked him profusely. When I called my sister and told her that this young man was able to transcribe the word that I could not, my sister and I laughed and laughed. Do you know why?
Moment #3: I rushed to grab the seat next to a young black man on a crowded CTA train after having to stand for quite a while.
Shortly after I sat down, the young man looked at me and asked, “Are you okay?”
I looked at him and smiled as I said, “Yes, thank you.” I wondered what expression I had on my face that made him ask me this question.
After a short pause, I asked, “How are you?”
“Fine,” he responded. My inquiry evidently made him feel comfortable enough to show me a message on his phone from his girlfriend (in tiny script that he did not know I could not read) and comment on her making him spend a lot of money on dinners.
I asked him, “Does she do so often?”
“Do you feel that she’s just using you?”
“Do you really like her?”
“Okay, then just enjoy her company and let her know if you’re short of funds.” He nodded his head up and down and smiled. He told me that he was on his way to work, told me where he worked and gave me his name so that I could get a discount if I ever dined there. I thanked him. Yum, yum. My appetite and pocketbook look forward to taking advantage of his offer.
Moment #4: I was seated in the bank, waiting to be helped by a banker. A woman (the mother, I assumed) came in with two little girls that I guessed to be approximately 4 and 2 years old. The mother gave them each a lollipop and had them sit down in the two chairs near me. They were very energized, so sitting still was not on their agenda. The 4-year-old sat next to me and gave me a grin behind her lollipop. I smiled and asked if her lollipop was good (the U.N. could obviously use me).
She nodded her head up and down. She and her sister then got off the chairs and ran in circles around the counter in the middle of the room.
When they looked at me, I said, “Be careful.”
I think the mother said something to them, but whatever she said did not stop them from running.
Time came for them to leave. When the three of them got to the door and the mother opened the door to exit, the 4-year-old ran back toward me with her arms outstretched. She gave me a big hug good-bye then ran back to her mom. I cannot accurately describe the look on the face of the little girl’s mother as her daughter ran to me. It was not exactly a look of horror but certainly one of surprise. Whatever. The little girl’s hug had certainly made my day.