I had the sweet opportunity to attend a two-day training in Downtown San Francisco. Those two days in the city were great. Downtown San Francisco is buzzing with tourists, great shopping (Macy's, DSW, Nordstrom's, etc.), bars, cable cars, etc. San Francisco, like any other major city, also has interesting characters. And of course I encountered one of them.
My two co-workers and I were walking down Market Street toward 5th. One of my co-workers is white and the other black. Both of my coworkers are young and attractive. As we're walking down the street a brotha, around 25, came from nowhere and asked if we wanted to buy some incense. His approach was aggressive. He got really close to us and was loud.
When he approached us, we were in mid-conversation laughing about something I can't remember. Then the brotha got extra close to my white co-worker and told her how pretty she was and that he liked her smile. I could tell she felt uncomfortable and understandably so.
He followed us a few more steps and we walked faster trying to outpace him. Then he said to my black co-worker and I, "Sorry sistas but I love me some white women. I LOVE WHITE WOMEN!" My white co-worker didn't say anything. My black co-worker looked shocked and said, "Wow." I laughed because he caught me off guard and was trying to think of something smart to say. It was too late for a snarky response. He was far down the street before I could yell anything back. By the way, my black co-worker was the one I told you about who bought the book "Swirling." She later said, "See that's why I bought the book." LOL
I wasn't angered by what the brotha said to us. However, his actions brought up something bigger for me. His aggressive approach to three women was so disrespectful. What I found interesting was that he would yell "I LOVE WHITE WOMEN!" on the street to black women. He has the legal right to yell on one of the busiest streets in San Francisco that he likes white women. To do that in front of black women is an act of dismissing us and I think disrespectful in black culture. Some people may disagree. I have dated interracially, but I would never go up to a group of black men and say, "Sorry brothas but I LOVE ME SOME WHITE DUDES!" Or, "Hey my brothas, I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF LATINO MEN!" That would be so disrespectful to them because basically I'm telling them they're not good enough for me. Society and the media tell black men they're not good enough daily. Why would I keep the driving that nail in?
Other issues that came to mind were misogyny and oppression of black women in the black community. I'll also add to that how black men and women see each other. There's a lot of love between black men and women. But there's a lot of animosity as well. If I had responded to incense dude, "I understand because I love white men myself," I wonder what he would have said. Would he have said that back in the 1970s, 80's, a time when I remember seeing Black love more than today? A time when there was more respect for Black women in the Black media. Incense dude's action, I felt, was an example of how black women are seen as inferior to other races and cultures of women.
Again looking back, I wasn't mad. Lord knows I don't want incense dude. It was just that his actions reminded me of where black women and men relationships are. I'm so happy that I realize I have options now when it comes to men. I'm happy that I love the skin I'm in and know many other men (black and non-black) do too. I don't need the incense dudes of the world's approval.
What does this have to do with the Giants? Not much, just that it happened two days before their World Series parade.
I'd love to know what you think. Was the incense dude being disrespectful? What would you have said or done?