Friday, March 4, 2016

To the man who's name is not Lamont

Dear Man at the gym who's name is not Lamont:

I'm sorry I forgot your name. I'm sorry I remembered you by who you are not. Thanks for teasing me and reminding me what your actual name is, though, I'm not typing that here since I didn't actually get your permission.

And thanks for coming up and talking with me again, even as I was typing this apology!

Thanks for asking why you were able to remember my name, but I just kept calling you a traditional black name. I said because I'm a jerk. You laughed and said, yeah.

But the funny thing is, and it's really not funny, is that so many of my Anglo brothers and sisters do forget the names of people we don't see as being enough like us. The worst story was my friend and blogging inspiration, Austin Brown, who was once a coworker with me in DOOR. She was hosting a church group of white people in inner-city Chicago, in a low income black neighborhood. From her name, they assumed she was a white male, like me. They wouldn't get out of the car when she came to greet them at their window because she frightened them. And once the confusion was cleared up, a white male leader continued to "not remember" her name. Called her Ashley, Andrea, anything but her actual name. Even after she and her staff fed them and showed them generous hospitality.

They wound up leaving the program 5 days earlier than expected. Some might have seen them as fleeing, others may have remembered Austin kicking them out. Either way: they left because they were hardened by their Whiteousness.

So: I am sorry and thanks for cutting me some slack. And thanks for finding some way to make fun of me. I deserve it.  Hope you can forgive me.

From now on, I got ya D.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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