Because Being Black While Grocery Shopping is Frowned Upon

I need to make this very clear before I continue with this blog post:

I don’t like Donald Trump.

In fact, I’ve never liked him.

And I probably never will.

I didn’t vote for him.

I try very hard not to pay any attention to him. It’s hard since he makes the news every single night.

I honestly think he’s an embarrassment to the United States and the world.

That being said, when he made this infamous speech:

I knew I would never support him. After all, if he’s that blatant about his hate of Mexicans, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like black folk (and I’ve been proven right).

And yet, I find myself at a crossroads.

You see, I’m a black woman in Southern California. I live in L.A. I make this point because I get racist dealings on an almost daily basis. Some are obvious, some are not. Add that I have a white husband and a biracial child, and it really goes up the ante.

It brings me to my point.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been followed in a store. Whether it’s a high-end fashion store, a grocery store, or even the local CVS. It’s not an obvious follow. They’re never directly behind me. They’re never tapping me on the shoulder.

But whenever I walk down a certain aisle, they are there. Always. And it’s never anyone white (and I make mention of this because I haven’t seen a white security guard).

When we moved to our new neigborhood, we patronized the local grocery store, Vallarta. It’s not a bad store, but if you need something quick, it’s there. From the first day I arrived, I felt the Latino security guard following me with his eyes, then his body. If I stopped to look at something, he stopped, too. If I went down one aisle, he went down that aisle as well. Not every aisle, but enough where I knew what he was doing.

Yesterday, I stopped by the store to pick up something for dinner. I originally wanted to make pad thai but didn’t have enough ingredients for it. So I opted for salmon. The same security guard who I’ve seen numerous times and who has followed me numerous times was there.

When I went to go check out, I went to one stand, but the cashier was rude so I walked to another one. By then, the security guard was pretty obvious with his actions. He blatantly followed me. I quickly checked out and left.

I gave them a negative Yelp review complaining about their racism and called the store manager, Giovanni, to complain about his security guard. He gave me a half-ass apology, ‘I’m sorry but our security is a third-party contract but I’ll talk to the people who employ him.’ I’m going to call their corporate office and make another complaint.

What will happen? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

While the nation is focused on the various ways that white people won’t let black people be great, what’s being lost in the sauce is how some Latinos won’t let us be great, neither. Blacks are notoriously targeted for simply being us in L.A. by Latino gangs.

My old neighborhood, Highland Park, before it became gentrified, drove out the black families. (That’s a part of the Highland Park history no one likes to talk about. But yes, Lupe, keep complaining about how Karen and the Gentrifiers are driving the Latino families out. At least y’all get to live.)

The same Latinos who hate us, have no problem calling each other the n-word. Now Sway, how does that make sense?

Despite my raw feelings, this isn’t an anti-Latino post nor is this a pro-Trump, pro-MAGA post. I still think he’s a bonafide waste of sperm and anyone who has voted for him, well, you’re dumber than fuck as well, but I digress.

trumpstorm

My point of this post is after experiencing my umpteenth brush with racism courtesy of someone of Latino descent, I’m starting to wonder maybe Trump was right about that one thing. Are the best coming over here? Are the worst coming over and bringing their problems?

Why should I worry about white supremacy when Roberto the Security Guard won’t let me shop for kale in peace?

nope

My situation is a bit different. My race is my badge of honor and has also been used to empower me and destroy me at the same time. I’m sure every person of color (yes, including you too, Latinos) can relate.

But when someone else who is also a minority hates you, well, that stings.

I have a lot of Latino friends and Bear’s godmothers are Latina. So yes, I know it’s “not all Latinos.” It still hurts. And the fact it happened in front of Bear, makes me very upset and nervous I’ll have to have the race talk with him earlier than expected.

Until then, I’ll have to stay classy and rise above. Michelle Obama once said if they go low, we go high. That’s what I plan to do.

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UPDATE:

After I posted this story, things were a bit heated on my personal Facebook profile. Some even went as far as calling me a Trumper (lolwut) and said how I shouldn’t have said what I felt. Their reasonings were interesting:

  1. They downplayed the racism. After all, since they didn’t personally see it, it probably wasn’t that bad to them.
  2. They felt what I said was worst than the harassment I received.
  3. I shouldn’t have lumped all Latinos in there (I didn’t. I only suggested he should be kicked out of the country).
  4. They’ve been subjected to harassment because of MAGA and they felt what I said was wrong; not what actually happened to me.

Alright.

Liberals, and I’m calling you out specifically on this –

Do. Not. Tell. A. Black. Person. How. To. Be. Angry.

When you’re feeling powerless and helpless at racism, all sorts of emotions go through your mind. You’re relieved you’re still alive. You’re angry you went through it. You’re sad that it ruined your day. You’re horrified your children will have to go through it as well.

And a new day begins where it’s possible it starts all over.

I’m not going to apologize for what I felt at the moment after I was harassed. I don’t truly feel that way and it’s pretty clear that I don’t. However, I also want people to understand that trying to placate someone’s emotions after a horrible incident doesn’t sit well with them and it never helps.

black-people-created-blacklivesmatter-and-then-white-people-created-alllivesmatter-pictorial-representation-white-hand-covering-black-mouth-1441842744

Again, I deal with racist behavior on a weekly basis. Some obvious, some not, and it’s very rare I speak on it. One, I don’t like to rehash. Two, I’m a generally positive person. Three, I don’t like be angry about something I ultimately can’t control.

However, I’m allowed to feel angry – even for a tiny fraction – because of the racism and oppression. And yeah, I’m going to say something that’s not PC. And I’ll probably have some people side eye me for a while or even lose friendships.

But hey, if I’m losing friendships because they decided to side with the aggressor and racist, so be it. 

These my final thoughts on this particular matter.

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