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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


This afternoon I was out picking up groceries and as I approached my block I noticed a petite blonde casting fearful glances at me from over her shoulder. We both neared my corner and she kept turning to look at me...

Now for those of you who have never met me, I am six feet tall, around 240 pounds and tend to dress in black, and today I was decked out in my black leather trench coat, sun-goggles and a hideous raccoon hat (complete with the unfortunate scavenger's face just above my eyebrows), all quite fitting for the bitter cold and generally cruddy weather. In other words, I resembled a mulatto Frankenstein's monster on a four-week LSD bender.

The paranoid young woman rounded the corner and I was right behind her as we approached my building — where I have resided for eight years — she started to loudly shriek "STOP FOLLOWING ME!!!" She stepped up onto the stoop of my building and frantically fumbled with her keys in a desperate to gain entrance and escape the dusky pursuer who no doubt intended her complete and utter MANDINGO-style violation. Presently she crossed the threshhold and closed the lobby door with a look of relieved smugness. Said smugness changed to abject horror as I walked up, calmy opened the door and walked in.

She backed up the stairway to the second floor, wide-eyed, and again yelled "STOP FOLLOWING ME!!!" I said nothing, and as she warily advanced to the stairway to the third floor I turned to my own doorway, opened the door and said, "LIsten, lady. I live here. Deal with it." She spluttered for a bit, and said, "Oh, my God! I'm so sorry!" as she darted up the stairs like her naughty bits were on fire and she needed to sit in a tub full of water posthaste.

The saddest part of all this is that this has happened to me on several occasions over the years, and I have simply resigned myself to the fact that I am a scary black man to those who don't know me.

My favorite exmple of this is from some nineteen years ago during my college days at SUNY Purchase when a stereotypical Jewish princess from Long Island came up to me one day after class — for the record the class was "Rebels, Freaks and Prophets," taught by the legendary and truly excellent Esther Newton — and said, "you know, Steve, when I first saw you and that huge afro and leather and sunglasses and biker boots, I was terrified of you. Then you opened your mouth to speak in class and all fear flew away from me..." To my credit, I did not curse her out, but I ignored her from that point on.

So the moral of this is: unless some black guy is holding you down on the asphalt with a Ginsu pressed to your throat, please don't assume that we are out to get you. In fact, for all you know the brotha with the Ginsu may be attempting to remove a dangerous parasite, thereby saving your melanin-challenged ass.


Jared said...

You've got it too easy. I have to work hard to be a scary white man. Wear my hair long, not shave, and work on my 1000 yard stare. It's a little easier in the winter time when I can wear my crazy painted long jacket. I'm filled with envy.

Marie said...

Both of you scare the hell out of me.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,
Kind of reminds me when my kids go to the local variety store and the store owner is following them around. Meanwhile all the little white kids are stealing everything in sight.

Bobby the Blue Baxojayz said...

Brilliant tale, Steve. I only wish someone had audio or video of the incident. It's sounds like it might actually be amusing, if not a terribly sad look at how far our society has NOT progressed.

Anonymous said...

I can't say I've ever found you scary. Maybe a little bizzare at times. :)

BTW...I have SG-1 season 8 in hand...I'll pass it along as soon as I'm done with it.


Suki said...

I NEVER found you scary. Maybe aggressively interesting at most. At least you know what it was about you she found scary. As you know I'm 5'4 and kinda cute and men find me scary. They never talk to me unless I start a convo first. Ever. Unless they're outright crazy.

FryGuy said...

Bunche-O. I won't bother with the octillion or so nearly-identical stories I could tell (at least one of which involves gendarmes and firearms) and say simply : Verily, I do feel thee, Brother Mine!!!

eman said...

I sense a recurring theme between this essay and the one on the Birthday Girl.

If you haven't read it, you might want to pick up a copy of "Sex and Racism in America" by Calvin Hernton. His premise is that US racism has a sexual root.

Da Nator said...

I think this was just a case of miscommunication. Clearly, she was afraid of that damn raccoon hat. She probably thought it controlled you, like Krang controlled the exo-body. I've know I've nearly shrieked at that thing to stop following me a number of times, myself.

Jim Hoston said...

Hey Mandigo,

How dare you scare that fine vestige of white pride into her room! She has White-Privilege in this country and you ruined her power. Did she move out the next month? YOur not even dark enough to be considered black! YOu look italian, brother! Heh, heh, heh, Artsy
Bro here to break your balls or as the italians say
"Che Rottura de Palle"! How have you been? Jared
turned me on to his and your blog. Great stuff as usual! I hope to see you in 2006, so I will be in touch again soon. Hope all is well?