Woman eats lobster ravioli, gets barely affected by racial profiling. Story at 11.

Yesterday I had to get up early and drive a long damn-ass way to a specialist who pretty much assured me I was fine. I’ve had a medical woe since late October, and have felt miserable, and after testing me (it was multiple choice on a scantron sheet) and talking to me we decided: (a) I am old and need a cream, (ii) I have to make changes to my stellar diet and (3) I was probably also having a side effect from a medication, because I started taking it in mid-October, started feeling terrible in late October, stopped taking it November 25 and started feeling a bit better a week later.

This was all good news because of course you know how my mind is. I was riddled with cancer, up here in my mind. I was The Riddler. This despite my regular doctor saying, after I asked her if she thought it was cancer, and I quote, “Oh, god no. Sorry; should I have mentioned that to you right away?”

And despite my nurse cousin saying I wasn’t riddled with cancer. And also my mother’s beleaguered neighbor, who is also a nurse. Plus also the physician’s assistant at the urgent care.

STILL. I’d stopped eating or sleeping or trying to not bite my nails. I got self into a froth.

Anyway, once I saw the specialist and he gave me some creams and a prescription and a nice piece of paper telling me to cut out all of my food groups, once that all happened, I decided, you know what? Ima go to my old restaurant tonight and get something delicious and celebrate life.

Back in my old neighborhood, where the neighbors didn’t knock on the door for a piece of pizza when one is delivered to me* (*actual thing that happened here last week) [Dear June: That’s not how footnotes work], I used to go to this Italian place in a strip mall near my house. It’s unassuming yet fairly delicious, and they have a rotisserie chicken I like, but last night I marched in there and got the lobster ravioli, which is $20 a plate, but I love it and I was celebrating life and lobster ravioli is not one of the things I have to cut back on so shut it.

I have to say it was 100% worth it. Afterward, I went to the Harris Teeter that I used to go to 70 times a week. I was out of toilet paper and had been using Kleenex and I need to celebrate life and use the right paper products for the right uses.

As I was walking from the restaurant toward the grocery store, I heard a very sharp,

“HEY.”

A security guard was standing next to the Salvation Army bell-ringer. Was the bell-ringer doing something wrong? How exciting. Did he jingle when he should have jangled?

“You know I mean you,” the security guard shouted next, venomously. At this point I was passing a

[wait for it]

[what a surprise this will be]

young man of color, who had a small plastic grocery bag without much in it.

I also want you to brace yourself for the news that the security guard was an old white guy.

The way he said, “You know I mean you” was so mocking. It was so full of hate.

The black kid didn’t follow up with a “Is something wrong?” He immediately held his bag up. “I paid for this,” he said.

It was the way he said it. Calm. Resigned. Like this had happened before, or he’d at least expected it to happen at some point. He also said it in a way that told me he was being completely truthful.

“No you didn’t,” said the security guard. Did he need to shout across the parking lot? Could he not have walked over to the kid? Instead he stood in the lit entry of the store, where everyone could hear. Almost like he was …scared.

At this point I was at the door myself, and trying not to stare, to add to the kid’s humiliation. The last thing I heard was the kid (again, resigned, calm) saying that he had a receipt and that his girlfriend worked in the deli section and that’s what he’d bought, was something over there.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe his girlfriend charged it to her employee account or something. Maybe he sailed past the checkout and it looked suspicious. What I DO know is a few years ago I stole a box of hair dye from there. It was early on in the check-yourself-out days of grocery shopping, and I bought a bunch of stuff and marveled at how cheap it all was. When I got home I checked my receipt and when I scanned the hair dye it didn’t actually scan.

When I took the box back to the store and told them, holding my $10 out at customer service, do you know what they told me?

“Don’t worry about it.”

Don’t worry about it. It’s like that Eddie Murphy video when he paints himself white. So I get free hair dye and this kid gets screeched at for allegedly taking a few slices of ham or whatever.

I also, another time, put on some reading glasses they had for sale there so I could actually read any damn labels, and took them right home on my head. Carried those reading glasses out like they were the hero of the football game.

No one noticed that, either. Also, they don’t carry football heroes on their heads, do they?

What I wanted to do last night was go back outside and stand next to the kid but I didn’t. I didn’t want to be the old busybody.

But I wanted the security guard to know that someone was watching, and that he couldn’t get away with what he was doing.

Be a security guard, sure. Absolutely. That’s your job. Ask the kid to come back in and question him in a room or something. Be, oh, I don’t know. Respectful. Don’t bellow hatefully at him from yards away. And while you have your eagle eye on the black kid, there, Profile-y, the old white ladies are carrying Clairol and reading glasses out by the gross.

That kid and I have opposite problems. He’s too visible. He can’t shop or drive or grill in a park or sell water or walk into his building or throw out his trash in his complex without someone staring at him nervously. I could wear flaming pasties and people would barely glance at me.

I guess all I can do is never shop at that Harris Teeter again, or maybe I could file a complaint. Be a Karen. Get a horseshoe haircut and demand to speak to the manager.

Goddammit.

61 thoughts on “Woman eats lobster ravioli, gets barely affected by racial profiling. Story at 11.

  1. When I was a freshman in college, I worked at a hardware store. One Sunday, the owner of the store told me to follow some customers and when I asked why, he said, “Because…you know.” And I replied, “Because they’re black? You want me to follow a well-dressed middle-aged black couple around the store? Are you crazy? They need a hammer or a garden hose or something and they are stopping on their way home from church. I am absolutely not following them.” And I walked away. I am so ready for the old racist white guys to die out but it seems like there is always another batch of assholes to replace them.

    Like

  2. I love lobster ravioli! And I also know of a place in a strip mall that sells it and it’s amazing. Also, seriously Harris Teeter?! You, HT, should be ashamed. And yes, you should pull a Karen and complain – that was harassment plain and simple.

    Like

  3. When I lived in Hickory, NC, I was behind an African American lady at the grocery checkout. She paid with a check (remember those days?) and was asked for ID. I did the same, but was not asked for my ID. That was in 1989, and to this day I still regret not saying something to the cashier.

    Two African American 8th grade boys in my class talked about being in Belk’s where a saleswoman kept following them around, even hiding behind the rack of coats and separating them so she could see the kids who were just hanging out at the mall, maybe buying and maybe not. They laughed at how silly she looked, but you know they felt much more than just amusement. I have never been followed in a store, and if you’re white, I bet you’ve never been either.

    Like

  4. This was a great post to read… loving the lobster ravioli and your choice to write the store. I think asking if they’d like to see my receipt, too, is something I’m going to tuck in the back of my mind for the future.

    Like

  5. I am so glad you do not have cancer, June. It is a HUGE fear for so many of us now. Our odds do increase with age and when people around you have died of it, it makes it extremely frightening and the possibilities seem far greater.
    I am with you on the food stuff too.
    It stinks but I AM glad there are many food alternatives now. I really want my damn cheese, cream sauces , etc. back when I am eating out and substitutes are not readily available. I got ripped a new one by the counselor the other day about eating wrong and making myself ill. It is a sickness, an addiction I need to work to conquer. I am glad you can have lobster ravioli. Michael and I had a fantastic belated birthday meal in May of 2018 when he had turned sixty and they thought his cyber knife was working. We spent $160.00 in a Philadelphia top notch steakhouse. It was worthy every penny and his meal of a lifetime, probably mine.
    My neighborhood of thirty-four years is finally becoming more racially diverse and I think it is a good thing. I have/had relatives who would not agree.

    Like

  6. I was thinking about you earlier today, June, when my husband was cautioned about a concussion in his follow up visit with his primary care practice. He was in a car accident on Friday. I took him to the ER for pain from the seatbelt in his sternum and Monday for neck pain, Today he was cautioned about screen time and I felt like I had an advanced degree in concussion care. But the main reason for this comment is to share the part of the accident for which my husband feels the worst. It was rush hour on one of the busiest streets in the state. He had just crossed a main intersection after a long light and didn’t expect the traffic to be backing up so quickly on the other side and he was checking his side mirror to change lanes and he rear ended a painter’s van. He immediately took responsibility and apologized. The other driver just wanted to exchange info (his van didn’t appear to have damage, our car is totaled). My husband felt he should call the police, especially since the airbags had deployed. The cops came and only asked my husband for his license, registration, proof of insurance. They didn’t make him get out of the car, ask if he’d been drinking, or wonder what the CPAP machine on his passenger seat was. They did ask what a safe rate of speed was when the traffic is stopped and he answered “0 miles per hour”. By the time I got there the police were all over the van that he hit, combing through every inch until they found some pot. It turns out the driver was unlicensed. So he got two tickets versus my husband’s one and who knows what this means for his employment, status. I know that it makes the roads less safe to have unlicensed drivers on the road. I’m not trying to defend that but that they barely took a second look at the guy who caused the accident it what shocks us.

    Like

  7. Karen, you can Karen with the best of them. Thank you everyone for the words. I agree, so many of us are invisible now and we need to take a stand against injustice for those under the microscope. We have wisdom, anger and frustration and can REALLY make a point.

    Like

  8. I’m an older white (Catholic/conservative/Republican) woman and my three boys are African. I have a line that I had to use when they were teenagers because I am not, in fact, their actual mother nor have I adopted them legally. When aggressively asked who I was and/or why I was involved or standing by or asking a personal/medical question, my reply was something along the lines of, “I’m the only adult right this moment looking out for this kid.” It usually worked, but probably because by then I was angry.

    When we would go to the mall, I got a lot of dirty looks from people who weren’t white. I have often thought I saw looks of relief when people (not always old) in stores saw that these boys came in with me. Because I’m white or because they were with an adult? I always tried to remind the boys it *may not* be because you are black – that even a small group of male teenagers can look like trouble for anyone, anywhere. Even so, if something didn’t go his way, my oldest would complain, “It’s because I’m black” and I’d say in my most Sally Albright voice, “It isn’t because you’re black.”

    OK, funny aside, my oldest, who is now bemoaning his adulthood (he’s 24), called me last week to say that the only reason he has ring around the collar in his dress shirts is because he’s black! It was one of the funniest conversations we’ve had in a long time. My husband said my side of the conversation was a riot!

    Like

  9. I am so proud and grateful to be a part of this community at the Book of June (previously Bye Bye, Pie). This whole conversation makes me have hope for the world.

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
    — Margaret Mead

    Glad you are (still) cancer-free, June.

    Lovely post, lovely June!

    Like

  10. Thank you for writing to the manager. Us Old White Ladies need to speak up and counteract the dopes out there.
    Glad you are cancer free and that lobster ravioli is still on the menu.

    Like

  11. Omg that poor kid. The mindless hate in our world is crushing. Kindness is free. Courtesy takes no extra time. Gads June. Way to make me cry at lunchtime. Also tx for Karen-writing that store & I’m glad you’re without cancer.

    Some days I really, really hope Karma is real

    Like

  12. I feel like POC have gotten a huge F*ck you with this bozo in the White House …..any progress that this country has made has been seriously reversed. And not just with POC but with women too….any man that says ” grab them by the p*ssy” is an abomination to mankind. I don’t ever ever post anything political because I don’t ever know who is for him vs. against him but this is the safest place I know and I feel like you and your readers are all of a similar thought ( I could be wrong…often am). Anyway, I’d like to think I would have stepped to this young man’s side and presented a united front to the Trump voter security guard but I can’t honestly say that I know I would or not. I’d like to think I would have inserted myself but I can’t be certain I would have had the balls. Thanks for giving us all something to think about that could happen around us at anytime, anywhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I’m glad you wrote to the store manager, so terrible, the security guard should be fired. Enough of this bullshit. I feel so bad for the kid, grrrrrrr!

    Glad your worry has subsided, I get the same way when I have an ailment at this age, no fun. Lobster ravioli is one of life’s great pleasures! You’ve inspired me to get some tonight!

    Like

  14. When my husband and I were first married, we lived for a couple of years in eastern North Carolina. We are both originally from not-diverse-at-all Central/Northern New York. I worked temporary jobs (remember those? Kelly Services, Manpower) and one of my first in North Carolina was at a tobacco company. White people staffed the offices and black people staffed the factory part. The office workers called the factory workers the n-word and I was shocked and horrified as only a girl from a little town pre-internet could be and said something. I was told, “If you like them so much, you should have married one,” which, seriously? I remember being so surprised that things were still this way and that was thirty years ago.

    Like

  15. I am glad you wrote to the store. I hope that things improve, and I keep thinking that today’s youth are growing up with better information unless they are being raised by people who refuse to parent them with any sense. Sigh.

    My white kids attend a diverse high school. My dad made a comment at dinner a few years ago about being a racist because he was raised in a different time and he learned it from his parents. My daughter was 14 at the time, she said to him, ‘Grandpa, that’s a choice. You can just choose not to be a racist.’ Needless to say, I was super proud of her.

    I had a recent scare – blood showed up in my urine in a test they were doing to see if I had RA. So my primary doc retested me. Still blood in my urine. But they sent my pee away for further testing and it came back as a no-big-deal situation. Phew.

    Glad your results came back all clear!

    Like

  16. OK, that bites. You never believe it actually happens until you witness it yourself. Same thing happened to my son, and he is lily white.

    Like

  17. It’s awful being briefly paralyzed by thinking security scum meant you, disbelief he was that horrible, attempt to imagine what the accused might want—notifying manager sounds good. (So does not being riddled with cancer.)

    Like

  18. Last night I was watching a sitcom (shut up) and a white man asked for a pep talk. His Nigerian friend replied: “You are a white man with money. God already gave you a pep talk.” Truth.

    Still vibrating with anger.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. This is one of the best things you have ever written. So simple, yet so descriptive. And it highlights a problem in our society that is unacceptable. Let’s Karen all over white, privileged old men ( and women, as needed)! Insert political statement here about current administration making this “acceptable” behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not gonna get political, but I hardly think it’s fair to blame this on anything that has happened in the last three years. I don’t care who’s currently in office. This problem started LOOOOOOONG long ago.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. This concept of blaming other people isn’t going to help the situation we’re in. Bashing other demographics cannot possibly end well.

          Like

          1. We are all people , people can change, minds can be won over. If we were all just kind and good to everyone (no matter about politics) we shouldn’t care if white or black , dem or rep, male or female, any adjective you want to use…just be kind to everyone. It shouldn’t even be brought up what you are except a good and kind person.

            Like

  20. Ugh. The world we live in. It’s just not OK.

    So glad you aren’t riddled with The Cancer June. Lobster ravioli seems like the perfect way to celebrate Life.

    Like

  21. This made me cry. I saw something on Instagram recently, about a baby , really a baby at 14 that was wrongfully executed. There were photos of this poor kid being strapped in and crying. I am forever haunted as well I should be. Horrifying. What is wrong with us?

    Like

  22. The “old white guy” is from another decade. How do you go about changing a life long opinion of a man who was raised by parents who were from another era?
    A beer summit?
    Have him do community service ?
    Share your opinion in a reasonable tone as to how it made you feel and how it would make him feel if someone spoke to him in that manner?
    Someone might say, it won’t matter to OWG , but it might.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Be a Karen…..spit my coffee out for several reasons, Your pun obviously and my mom’s name was Karen and she was such a Karen, always saying something. One time my older mean cousin grabbed me with fireplace tongs and my mom took them out of my cousin’s hand and grabbed her nose saying, HOW DO YOU LIKE IT!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

    I vote with the commenters who suggest saying something in the moment, whether directly to the security guard (“I’m sorry, are you talking to me, the little old white lady? What seems to be the problem?”) or immediately to the store manager. This isn’t just a problem for young black men. It’s a problem for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I so hate that. hate hate hate. Poor kid, he probably has been targeted before. As an older white woman I have also gotten away with stuff that a young POC would have been arrested for. *sigh*
    Glad you are not riddled with cancer. Take it from me, it sucks.

    Like

  26. Such a fine line between wanting to help and also not wanting to get in the way. I never know what to do in these situations.

    Like

    1. As a survivor of life long abuse (first parents then ex SO) i would beg you to get involved. If one person would have gotten involved and been a “busy body” when I was a child, I have a brother that would be alive today (he was killed by my mother at the age of 6). The worst part of working through the abuse as an adult is needing to work through why all the people on the outside didn’t say anything, didn’t try to help us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am very sorry too. I grew up with an emotionally and physically abusive alcoholic parent. I took two of my younger siblings to the doctor covered in bruises from severe drunken beatings. It was never reported. My sister went to a teacher and told her, once again nothing reported. Telling people did not help and adults knew. My mother was offered help from family members if she kicked him out but she was too weak. No one was killed, I can not even imagine the horror of that. None of this can be spoken of today to my still living parents. My siblings and I do speak about it sometimes among ourselves. I carry a great deal of internal rage over it still, many decades later.

        Like

  27. Sonofabitch. That makes me so mad.

    I think we should all decide to become old busybodies. Let’s all start marching right up to the kids when we see stuff like this and send death glares at the security guards.

    Dammit. Right this second I’m going to go ask my FOC (friends of color) what they would prefer. Actually I guess I should ask their kids because my friends are old now like me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As an ROC (Reader of Color!), I would appreciate some more busybodies. Standing next to the kid might have made him feel uncomfortable, but asking the guard something like, “Would you like to see my receipt, too?” might have a) made the kid feel he had an ally and b) let the guard know someone was watching.
      Too many times when these things escalate, the video footage doesn’t start until the POC has grown angry. People find justification for racist actions. Be the eyes, be the voice, be an ally. Be a damn Karen if that means taking a small step towards reducing this BS!
      Does anybody know where this soapbox goes?

      Liked by 3 people

        1. That’s awesome! If the guard is reprimanded or terminated (the only just resolution in my opinion), he will think twice before speaking to anyone in that accusatory racist manner again.
          Thank you for taking action and speaking up. Delayed action is better than none.

          Like

      1. Thank you! I would have felt the same as June and not wanted to draw more attention to the situation or the make the young man uncomfortable. So I would have probably done nothing because I wouldn’t know WHAT to do and been bothered by my lack of action. Thank you again. I will remember your words.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Reading about that angry security guard made me both sick and sad. Thank you, Jennifer, for your words of what we can do if we should ever (hopefully, never) be in the same situation. I say, hopefully never, in hopes that this kind of BS stops happening.

        June, I’m happy you don’t have cancer and can celebrate life with lobster ravioli. Lobster sure beats Chef Boyardee.

        Like

      3. Preach it!!! If we would get involved then the problem would begin to lessen. Thoughts and prayers don’t change the world, it requires action. Action is often perceived as uncomfortable and awkward, but how uncomfortable would we be if we witnessed an exchange and later saw on the news the discrimination had escalated and resulted in death.

        Like

  28. A. So glad you are cancer free.
    (2) That makes me so sad for that young man. I recently read “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I cried all the way through that book. Denver is black, Ron is white and through circumstances became friends. They both write from their perspective of life and how they grew up and lived. Denver was homeless, Ron was a high-rolling art salesman. It’s a hard read. We have several men that we consider “our sons” and one is black, he often shares with us his experiences of being profiled. It makes me furious.
    Tee

    Like

  29. And instances like that right there are why I see red when people claim all races are treated equally or that all lives matter or what-have-you. People of color have been getting a crappy, unfair deal for the entirety of this country’s starting-with-white-people-coming-over history; why can’t we all acknowledge that to be true and start actively working to do better??

    Also, I hope the cream helps and that you don’t have to give up all the good foods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you seen the clip of the lecturer asking the white audience, “Raise your hand if you would be willing to change races today and become an African American.” Not one hand was raised. She said they were absolutely aware that all people are not treated equally in the United States.

      Like

Comments are closed.