Tonight, I just went down to The Alley, a local bar and piano establishment I visit, to have a good, basic chicken dinner. I didn’t feel like cooking, and had enough of pot roast, steaks, and pasta. I wanted chicken.
Jackie, the owner and bartender, had my place read for me to sit — and the meal prepared — when I arrived. Ok. I was late, but I got there. So, I sat down to eat and to my joy, the Warriors basketball game was on. So, I was content, but I had one call to make, and it was an important one, so I got my cell phone to take action.
While I’m on the phone, someone yells “What’s your name” and just as I’m getting up to go outside to hear the recording better. I motion that I’m on the phone, and go out. When I returned, I sat down to eat the meal I ordered. The matter of what the other person wanted to know seemed a distant memory to me — not important.
So, I ate. Then, after a while, the person who was yelling at me, who turned out to be an older African American woman, again yelled — yelled, “Married or Single?” And repeated it. So, I slowly turned and said “I’m eating and watching the Warriors” with a wink of an eye. She said some other words I didn’t bother to comprehend, because I just wanted to eat — ya know? As this is going on, Jackie’s going back and forth pouring patrons drinks.
Finally, the lady asks Jennifer, who’s the waitress, to tap me on the shoulder — “The Black Man. Him,” she says. So, I turn, and she asks me “What country are you from?” Well I was now deep in the middle of watching “The Best Damn Sports Show” and waiting for the segment featuring my friend, Fox Sports Analyst Jay Glazer. So, I was a bit annoyed, but said nothing. My gut told me that responding would not help matters and I just wanted to be left alone. Besides, something appeared to be wrong with her — maybe it was the alcohol.
So after a while, she was finally leaving — I guess — but then doubled back and forced herself into my attention because she “Had something to say to me.” I wanted to be left alone. I asked her — several times — to stop bothering me. I finally asked Jackie — who seemed to be trying to ignore the whole thing. Finally I threatened to call the cops — it was that bad. I told Jackie it was either her or me who would do so. All the time, this lady is yelling, and I’m asking her to stop and just leave. Wild.
Finally, she left.
What I didn’t like was that because I’m a guy and black, it seems like it’s OK if I get harassed. I really got after Jackie for allowing that to happen. Jackie felt there was nothing that she could do; that the lady was going to do what she wanted to do. But she could have asked the lady to stop.
About two years ago, I was at The Alley with my friend Setor, when a drunk white lady started saying all kinds of racist and offensive things. Eventually, she was asked to leave. That’s what Jackie should have asked this lady to do.
I later learned that it was her birthday. But she certainly didn’t do anything to make it a happy one for her and anyone else. Certainly not me.
Folks, if you see someone black and male being harassed for no good reason, jump in. Don’t just let it happen. In my case, I was ready to send that lady to jail because her actions were so very threatening and unnecessary. And I would not begin to think of using violence — calling the police was the best alternative.
I didn’t like the scenario of someone black calling the police on someone else black and female, but the lady’s behavior was so — wild — it was the only reasonable action to take. No one else seemed interested in stopping her,and I’m still puzzled by the whole thing.