You would think that a city like Richmond, Virginia would be far removed from some types of ignorance, especially in an area that hosts a fairly known university and a strip full of shops, places to eat and other things that make Broad Street look habitable. I was dead wrong.
To start, myself and my brothers were all headed down south to rehearse for a very important show coming up this weekend. We've been performing with this same company for 10+ years now, so saying we're familiar with Richmond wouldn't really be saying enough. So, before a rehearsal; we're driving around on and off of Broad St., looking for the destination my GPS mapped out. We finally get there and the neighborhood is looking nice; lovely homes, vintage shops and...not really that many of my um, melanin enriched folks. =\ You get the picture, but it was no problem, because I have yet to have a serious race issue in Richmond. I may have spoken too soon, because the woman in the 7-Eleven we went into had no problem providing me with my first experience.
And she was black.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't my first time experiencing behavior like this, but it was just shocking because of the area I was in. I've been in a lot of small towns where the percentage of black people is slim to none, so it's almost expected in areas such as those. What was funny/sad about the entire encounter was the fact that I watched the woman become two different people right in front of my eyes! All of us were pleasant to her, greetings included, polite...and she talked to us and looked at us like we just rolled around in shit for two hours before stepping into her store. She even yelled at my brother for his misunderstanding the total she kind-of told him at the register. I got carded for buying a lighter...it was just all bad. But, the kicker was watching a few melanin challenged people walk into the store. I thought I was in a scene from "10 Little Niggers". She was just smiling and over polite (if there is such a thing), complete with "yes ma'ams" and "no problem sirs". Sad thing to watch, really. I could have said something to her, but I'm an out of towner, and I had a rehearsal to get to. But I made it a point to make sure that she knew we weren't pleased with her embarrassing antics. Jabari made sure to toss a couple Sambo jokes in on the way out.
Richmond residers reading my blog: she's at the 7-Eleven on Sheppard Street, across from a tobacco shop. Go tell her we said "hello"!