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And Then the White Girl Said…

July 3, 2009
by

DIRTY_phprekfRf

We’re going to address some stereotypes in this one.  I feel it’s important to just put that out there, because our story actually takes place in, of all places, the world famous chicken joint in Seattle, Ezell’s Chicken.

World famous? you say?  Yes.  Oprah used to have it flown across the country.  The chicken is so good it’s evil.  The bread rolls- if you’ve ever had one, you’re groaning and rubbing your tummy as you read this.  If you haven’t been to Ezell’s in a while, you should know- they have peach cobbler now.  Pure sin.

There is no eating at Ezell’s; just get your food and go.  Not a bad thing, especially on hot days.  When it’s hot outside, it’s hotter in Ezell’s, so any time you’re in there on a hot day, you can’t wait to get the hell out.

Earlier this week, this was my predicament- hungry as hell, waiting for food, sweating out of my own skin, when in walks 3 white girls.  We’d pulled up at the same time, but they took longer getting out of the car.

Ranging from 17-19, I’d seen the type before.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone eats at Ezell’s.  That’s one of the fascinating aspects of the experience; Black, White, Asian, Latino, their fried chicken is universal, hehehe.  So it’s no shock that White people are there.

From the second they hit the door, the scene turned into a passive aggressive exercise in race and privilege.

The girls came in with the “yeah I’m white and I’m in Ezell’s” attitude.  The posture, the facial expressions, the measure of eye contact was all an attempt at intimidation.  Of course there was a ring leader; the smallest of the three, in a bikini top, with a white tank and short-shorts that were too short and wayyyyy too tight.  The other two girls were considerably larger and less comfortable in their unfortunately revealing clothes.

Also in the joint, an elder sista of at least 50, who was waiting for her order to be filled, and another sista of about 25 or so, also waiting for her food.

Infraction number one; the leader of the White girls, bumped past me in line.  Now, I’m not one to look for confrontation, but I’m not afraid of it when it’s necessary.  Fighting over a spot in line at the chicken joint- not so necessary.  Obviously the White girl was in need of some external power, and boy was she feeling it.  Her crew of 2 shuffled on behind her, unsure if they should apologize or adopt their leader’s “I have just as much right as you- if not more- to be here” attitude.

Whatever.

Time ticked on and the girls talked amongst themselves;  It sounded a lot like “wawah wawah wawah wawah,” until the ring leader uttered the words “nigga please”, to one of her friends.

Immediately the head of the elder sista snapped up, as if she’d been slapped, and she gasped, as elder sistas do, and shook her head looking genuinely disturbed and offended.  The other sista put her hand on her hip and used her eyes to bore a hole right into the back of the White girl’s head.

For her part, little miss ring leader knew she’d caused a spark, and set about doing her best to start a fire.  Every other word out of her mouth was “nigga” and everyone could hear her; the sista behind the counter, the Latino brother on the fryer… as the observers, we shared the experience from different frames of reference and yet, we were all equally annoyed.

I ordered my food and started the waiting game as the White girls continued to throw their power about, and all the while the word “nigga” assaulted our ears.  All parties managed to keep their cool.  Until…

“My nigga know who in charge…”

Some people might hear “my man know who in charge”, when she said that.  Others might hear “my nigger slave know who in charge” in the same words.  I know, it seems a stretch, but for some Black people, and some Black women in particular, it’s challenging enough to see brothers with White women.  But to have a white woman (woman is a stretch, she was a little grown girl) brag about being “in charge” of a Black man, a “nigga” as it were- too much for some to stomach.

It’s as if she uttered the words through a mega phone that doubled as a flame thrower.  The inferno enveloped the entire building in dramatic, slow motion effect.

After the .5 second blackout I said “Oh hell no!” fully prepared for, in the least, a verbal battle with the leader of the pack.

The sista who’d been eying the threesome wanted to fight, and a barrage of angry words flew out of her mouth: “ain’t this about a bitch?! You think I won’t fuck you up?! You must be out of your muthafuckin’ mind if you think you gon’ just stand up in here talk like that you fuckin’ skank!”

That set the tone.  The fatty-followers were terrified, I mean, absolutely terrified.  The ring leader was in shock- I think she thought that since she’d already said the word 35 times she wasn’t going to get challenge.  Now her life was being threatened by someone who looked ready, willing and able to fuck her up, catch a charge, do her time and keep it moving.  The leader of the White girls seemed torn, her arrogance was telling her to stand her ground, while her gift of fear was telling her to back it out of there.

“If you say that word one more time,” I said, “I promise you, you’re ’bout to get your ass handed to you. Shut your mouth and wait for your food outside (that was really all I could come up with).”

45 seconds after she’d uttered those 6 words, the White girl found herself outside huddled with her crew and licking her wounds while also trying to appear as if nothing was wrong and she’d chosen to stay outside.

Mercifully, my order was called before theirs; I got my food and left.

In case it’s not obvious by my take on the events, I’m not a fan of the word “nigga”.  Now, I know that some Black people believe that the word “nigga” is a reclamation of the word “nigger”.  I hear people say all the time “we took a negative word and made it our own, made it positive.”

This isn’t a philosophy I agree with or think is rational, or even possible for that matter.  The word “nigga” is not a positive word, it has no positive connotation to it, isn’t linked to anything positive in our history or in our culture.  I personally believe that it is hurtful to us as a people.  I can’t stand to hear Black people call each other niggas.  I can’t stand to hear White people call each other, or us, niggas.  I see parents say it to their kids, and kids to their parents.  None of these people are putting the word- or the mentality into historic terms, which saddens me.  For those who do not know their history are doomed to…

What do you think?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Tinah permalink
    July 3, 2009 5:21 pm

    SV – I agree completely. The use of this word is so pervasive yet distructive and downright hurtful to our community. I thought we had buried the word…maybe the white girl didn’t get the memo!

  2. Phyllis permalink
    July 3, 2009 5:37 pm

    OMG CRINGE
    Yikes. That girl is LUCKY to be alive. I wonder who she’s hangin’ with that she’s gotten this far in life without understanding she could get toothless real quick over what she did, esp. at 23rd & Jefferson. It’s embarrassing, sometimes, to be around kids verbally taking up public space to assert power. This is the worst case I’ve heard of. I let out an “ugh” as I read it. Those friends of hers might want to wise up and get a little distance.

    I always wonder, when I see or hear about something like this, how this incident lives on in the lives of the people who were there. Like, will those other two girls ever speak of it again? Will the perp turn it into an anecdote where she actually “won?” Have the Latinos who work in the joint seen this same incident replayed with different dialog and characters a million times? Or was it so shocking that they feared for their safety for a second? Did the older woman just try to forget it? Does it pale in comparison to other racial horrors she’s witnessed? Did anyone else blog it?

    I wonder if any white people have ever called her out? Surely her parents have tried. I would hope, anyway. What a world this would be if white people were just as willing as others to get in her face. Maybe they are, bless ’em!

  3. Revel permalink
    July 3, 2009 9:55 pm

    Ignorant, arrogant (sub-racist) white girl in front of strangers – and elders. Telling her to stand outside was pure grace.

    Whites have openly co-opted black lingo for years. Not this one. It’s too loaded with evil. If you’re white and you really do have friends who are black, you already KNOW this.

  4. heather permalink
    July 5, 2009 2:36 pm

    Sable, you are absolutely right, of course.

    I think this would make an excellent short film. It could be very educational, a great conversation starter about the n-word, “race relations”, generational perspectives, the way that word echoes and reverberates, and affects those who say it, who hear it…

    I love what Phillis ponders, what happened to everyone involved later? Did the arrogant white chick get her teeth bashed in later, when she perhaps tested the potency of her vocabulary in a venue less tolerant of her bullshit? How did the elder relate this to her friends later? And how did this girl get comfortable with that word in her mouth? How did that happen?

  5. July 5, 2009 3:35 pm

    Seems as if no word brings Blacks and Whites closer than “nigger.”

  6. The Spook Who Sat By The Door permalink
    July 5, 2009 10:18 pm

    Wish I coulda’ seen it, but how I hate that word. I get the idea of reclaiming the word, similar to the way that gays have tried to reclaim the word faggot, but I think it fails when popular black culture is co-opted by mainstream white culture and our attempt to turn the word gets turned back on us.

    On one hand I am surprised that she didn’t understand how dangerous a stunt like that could have been. Of course, if all she saw on that visit were women of color, older than she, she prob’ly thought she held the power, being white, and the worst she would get was a nice mammy figure telling her to run along and play.

    On the other hand, I’m not surprised at all. I see too many white wannabees tossing the word around among each other, these days. They get it from the media, and from their black acquaintances that buy into the gangsta rap culture, and no one wants to speak against it for fear of looking soft. It’s no surprise that she was comfortable with that word – and only a little surprising that she was comfortable using it in this case.

  7. July 7, 2009 9:33 am

    I LOL’d at this. The reaction of the girls and I can just see their face. and I agree with Heather, would love to see this on TV..

    I don’t like using that word nor do I like hearing. There are so many other words you can use. ‘Boy’ ‘Man’ ‘Skank’ ‘Trick’ and the list goes on. Sounds like Dogg the bounty hunter saying, ‘I thought I was cool enough with the blacks to use the word’. Trick Please (see how that works..much better)

  8. Anna permalink
    July 7, 2009 11:14 am

    What a story! And I couldn’t agree more with how you and the other ladies reacted. If I hear someone throwing around the word “chink”, “yellow”, and “mail order bride” just to show up the Asians and Filipinos in the joint, I’d be all over them just like that.

    Thanks for the insight, and thanks for speaking your mind to those kids–they needed the education.

  9. Jaz permalink
    July 19, 2009 12:45 pm

    Well… I was more hoping that the story ended with the lady that cussed her out beating her ass. I mean, realistically, I know that’s not the best thing to do and the sista would’ve likely ended up in the back of an SPD car, but that lil girl needs her lil ASS BEAT!! Really, she needs to think about a terrifying ass whoopin everytime the even thinks about using the word nigga. UGH!!
    But nonetheless, my girl Sable did the right thing. You saved that child from the beating of a lifetime!

  10. August 15, 2009 4:47 pm

    hmmm…. well…from a white man who has dated several black women, I am quite offended as well…but what is just as offensive is when I am on the metro bus and hear young black men and young black when doing the same thing…yes, I understand it is different because it was a “white” girl, and it is hard to get passed injustices that have been perpitrated against us by the “other” race, I know I was a little “white” boy that grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood near Norfolk, VA, I used to have to fight just because I was “white”, sound kind of familar? Maybe not… I had a cousin that was hit in the back of the head with a lock by some “black” people just because he dressed gothic and/or was “white”… Quite frankly a lot of people today don’t really care about “race” we are after all apart of the “human race”, or at least some of us are…To put it in the nicest way possible, I think someone should have severly chastised this girl, not just because she is “white”, but because she obviously needs a swift kick in her adjusting device… I am sorry you were wronged, and sorry that some people are “ignorants”, to use a replacement word, dispite their race…

  11. Sable permalink
    August 15, 2009 6:45 pm

    Why is it when we point out the negative behavior of White people, someone has to point out the negative behavior of Black people? smh…

  12. Tinah permalink
    August 16, 2009 2:16 am

    Good question SV!!

    LMAO @ a lot of people don’t care about race…really? The comedy just continues!

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