Thursday, October 19, 2006

Serving "Darkies" Today?

Michael, a chai tea enthusiast, has been frequenting a Starbucks shop near his place of employment. He'd discovered a former classmates is one of the valued employees. They've chatted from time-to-time, like pals are wont to do.

The friend pulled Michael aside, relating that he had something to tell. He prefaced his tale by stating that he hoped Michael didn't get mad. Michael braced himself, guessing the context of what was about to follow.

The manager of this Starbucks location had spoken with Michael's friend; seems a customer had complained about an incorrect drink order. The manager did what manager's do, offered to make amends; a new drink, a refund, coupon, whatever it takes to soothe and keep the customer.

This customer didn't want soothing. This customer's position was that the order was incorrect because the Barista was distracted by the 'darkie' who was talking to him. The customer further noted, for the record, that there seemed to be 'darkies' in there all the time. As the customer was gearing up for a full on rant about 'darkies', the manager halted her, invited her to leave and never return, as that kind of talk was not going to be tolerated in this establishment.

Michael assured his friend that he wasn't mad.

He was concerned that his friend and some new friends he'd made, might be uncomfortable with his presence. He returned a few days later, asking cheerily, if 'darkies' were being served that day. Everyone exhaled, relaxed. They all chatted a bit, Michael got his chai, and all was well.

It pains me mightily that my son has to even have these conversations-still, that these actions, and worse are still part of our lives.

Michael started writing poetry during is Junior year in high school. His becoming interested in acting and drama was born from his writing and spoken word performances. He wrote the following when he was 19. He gifted it to me for my 41st birthday.

Leader of My Ambush

Before and after my birth
You have fought battles that I couldn't imagine being in the trenches of.
Despicable Wars of Racism Dejected Confrontations of Poverty Disputable Invasions of Infamy

Ordeals you charged into not for ego
but for survival of your children
and that is the courage I see in your scars
the sufferance I listen to in your stories
the pride vibrating in our home

reminding me

I'm a boy learning from a giving general
who has descended her combat tactics
so I could transcend into a soldier of literature.
As I age, I understand more
why immense vocabulary
is necessary

My battles to come are invented by
futuristic technology that can only be
countered with precise language explaining
allies or enemies made
and acquaintances caught in crossfire

Hail!
Mother of Protection
Mother of Benevolence
Mother of Comprehension
Mother of Accommodation
Mother of Humbleness
praises of warfare shouted on mountain tops
glory resonates in valleys
Responsibility bombs obligations
Craters of examples are guidance
I cheer explosive victory

Never question your
instinctive intentions to fight
'cause whether you've gained or lost

Your smile is a symbolic weapon of unconditional love.

by Michael (insert last name)
July 2001




12 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:19 AM

    I'd like to find this shocking, but I don't.

    There are white women in my neighborhood that cross the street ratrher than pass me on the sidewalk in the neighborhood that I live in.

    I still see women clutch their purses when I pass by (as if that would really mean anything if I wanted what they have, badly enough), and all of that stuff that a lot of people in this country think doesn't happen anymore beacuse we have made so much "progress".

    I can't comment on the poetry as I know nothing about poetry... although, I can still recite The Charge of The Light Brigade from memory.

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  2. Wow.
    All of it.
    Just wow.

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  3. a) What the f**k is wrong with people?!

    b) That was a really lovely poem, and a great tribute to you as a mom.

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  4. What a beautiful tribute from your son! The life of integrity and courage has obviously profoundly affected your children and is an inspiration to the rest of us. I hate that the world takes so long to change. I can only take heart in that it is changing. Blessings to you and yours! :D

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  5. AAaaahhhh, damn. That darkie shit is pathetic. But I, too, know all too well that it still happens everywhere. I cringe when Doris reports her dailey events. Disgusting.

    That your children love you so much is the greatest tribute ever!

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  6. Idiocy like the 'darkie' comment never ceases to shock me.
    Hats off to your son for his self-control and sense of humour!

    On a much brighter note... Michael sounds like an absolute star! How wonderful that he should write such a respectful and caring sentiment to you! (Lucky Mum!)

    Love LBPx

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  7. Hi sweets, thank you so much for coming by my place, moreover, thank you for your heartfelt words. You are such a sweetie :-)

    I dont know where to start with the comment which was made to your son, it sickens me to know that there are still these kind of people out there, morons! Pigs!

    I just dont know why some people are determined to be cruel and unkind to others. As long as we dont harm anyone else, who's business is it if we're gay/straight/black/white/chinese/
    indian ?

    The poem your son wrote is beautiful, what a talented young man he is, you're very lucky :-)

    Also, I love the comeback comment Michael made, a good sense of humour is what we need to live this world ;-)

    Good for you Michael!

    Take care of eachother and enjoy your weekend X

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  8. So wrong; it's just so wrong. I'm angry and regretful that such still takes place. Michael seems a wonderful young man.

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  9. I'm in open mouth shock that that happened. It's just so wrong, so shocking.

    Your son sounds like a very bright, talented, insightful young man.

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  10. It does shock me the amount of ignorance that is still in the world. I guess I have been sheltered or ignorant to it growing up but now that I am older and have a more diverse group I see it everywhere and it sickens me that we can not look beyond the surface to see what a person truly is.

    Your son's poem was amazing and he sounds like a very lucky young man to have a mother like you.

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  11. I just don't understand people.
    No really, I don't get it.
    right now - if you could see me... my brow is furrowed, my eyes are squinted and my cheeks raised underneath them as i slowly shake my head side to side.

    and people wonder why i like to stay home so much.
    (your son is poised to do great things)

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  12. I just got goosebumps. What a touching gift!
    As for the "darkie" comment ~ it's so frustrating to see all the progress that has been made and then have something like that happen to remind ourselves that we are still so far away.

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