Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Black Jew(fish) . . .

I was out at lunch today on Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach. The friend I was having lunch with happen to know the owner of the restaurant we were at, and wanted to introduce me to the owner. He thought, given the advocacy work I do, that it would be good for me to meet some business owners in hopes to develop some relationships. You see, the downtown business community is quite organized, and somewhat influential. In fact, they have an association called the Downtown Long Beach Associates. I know the Director, Kraig Kojian. He’s a good guy, whom I enjoy talking to, and he’s helped turn downtown Long Beach into a pretty cool place to hang out.

Unfortunately, my experience today on Pine was not so positive.

I was speaking with the owner of the restaurant, a white gentleman, about Long Beach, and I mentioned that one of the things I liked the most about the City is the diversity. Not knowing I’m African-American (I’m bi-racial, and it’s not obvious to all, clearly) he said, “Well, except for those people.”

So, I responded by saying, “‘Those’ people? What do you mean?”

He replied, “Well, you know, black people don’t like to work, and they all think they are entitled to things.”

You should’ve seen me. I was kind of shocked. So, I responded by saying, “Well, I’m black, and my father’s black, and in addition to disagreeing with you, I find your remarks personally and highly offensive.”

After trying to explain to the man how the word works, and that are things are not equal he finally said to me, “I didn’t know you were black, I thought you were a Jew.”



I am Jewish. Things went from bad to worse.

What a day.

Kosher Ham


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