Monday, March 06, 2006
black like me. or, uh, maybe not: how i spent my thursday night
The bar in Redfish almost fell completely silent.
Dropping his bar towel the black bartender said, "What do you mean you don't know who Common is?" He pulled the other bartender, a young black woman, to his side. "She doesn't know who Common is."
"No, she didn't!" she said.
My drinking companion, a 40-ish black man, whispered, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that so loud."
The two black girls across the bar started laughing - and not with me, either.
I shrugged. "I'm sorry! I don't know who Common is! I grew up Baptist! I'm biracial! Uh, I don't listen to the radio!" The bartender said that was no excuse. "Do I have to turn in my black card?"
Guy bartender leaned on the bar in front of me and said, "Well, who's Common Sense?"
"There's no Common Sense," I scoffed.
The whole bar howled. The Guy Bartender threw up his arms and turned away. Even the white guy smoking a cigar across from me was laughing his ass off.
Then the bartender held up his hands. The bar was silent again. "So name me all the members of Public Enemy."
Bar howled again.
Bartender said, "Okay, how about 3 members of the Jackson 5?"
My mind totally blanked. "Uh, Tito...Michael..."
They waited. "Um...I got nothin'," I said desperate for another drink while the guy next to me (a very buppie lawyer, mind you) laughed and shook his head. Then the white guy across from me took out his cigar and rattled off the names of all the Jackson 5 (AND their sisters) like they were members of his own family. Bar howled again.
"Girl, you are whiter than the white guy," the guy bartender said. "I gotta ask for that black card back!"