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Thursday, January 04, 2018

MORE FUN WITH MILDRED

My mother's latest run-in with a Westport moron:

Though still ill, mom's off the ruinous chemo drug and is feeling well enough to hang out at Westport's senior center. While spending time there last week, some ancient white lady whom she had not met before looked her up and down and said "You must live in Norwalk." (For those not in the know in regard to Fairfield County's racial assumptions, it used to be common for all black people to be assumed as residents of either Norwalk or Bridgeport, both of which featured higher concentrations of us boogies than Westport/Weston/Fairfield. During my earliest years in Westport, I was often asked if I had been bussed in from Bridgeport or Norwalk, and often asked by white kids who would pose the question in what I later learned was Amos 'n' Andy-style dialect, which their parents had apparently taught them was how the majority of black people spoke. No, I am NOT joking.) My mother, irritated at having been asked that question for the umpteenth time over the course of 4.5 decades, simply answered with, "No. I live in Westport. I've lived here since 1972. Are you asking me that because I'm black? Because that's the message I'm getting," and left it at that.

Skip ahead to today, and mom was once more at the senior center, when the same dusty old twat approached her and flatly stated, with no preamble whatsoever, "You MUST be from Africa."

Let us pause to consider the staggering ludicrousness of that pronouncement for a moment, shall we? First of all, my mother originally hails from deep, rural Alabama, and is the spawn of a highly-mixed gene pool that includes black, white, and Native American, and she bears a reddish/orange complexion, so she looks NOTHING like a native African, by any stretch of the imagination. Nor does she speak with anything resembling what is considered an African accent. Her original accent was very southern, though her diction and such were quite precise (as enforced by her domineering mother's rigid matriarchy's standards), but once outside of her home state she worked hard to divest herself of the accent that she felt sounded "ignorant." She now rocks a sharp Connecticut manner of precise speech, with her southern twang only re-emerging when she's majorly upset. In short, there is NOT ONE THING about her that would lead any sane person to conclude that my mother was from straight-up Africa.

After forty-five years of being barraged with the stupidity of the privileged in Westport, my mom's heard it all and is damned near impossible to shock, but that one momentarily stopped her dead, and she said she nearly laughed in the obnoxious coffin-dodging axe-wound's Boris Karloff-as-the-Mummy-like face. Collecting herself, mom fired back with, "No. I was born in this country. My parents were born here, and my grandparents before them were born here. Prior to that, I can't tell you, because that's as far back as I know regarding my family's history."

That was where the conversation left off, so I'm waiting to see if mom encounters that woman next week and if the woman asks my mother if she hails from the city of Helium on the planet Barsoom.

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