Monday, June 8, 2009

At the Opera

This Saturday I went to the Opera with a friend. We had dinner outside by the fountain and everything seemed as though it was going to be a good night. When we got to our seats we sat down like everyone else and began to chat a bit about how excited we were to be there. Everyone was settling in and getting comfy, ready for the three hour journey of singing. During this time a woman who was sitting next to us began to shush us as if we were the only ones talking. I looked at her a restrained myself from saying anything. The curtains hadn't went up and everyone wasn't seated but she began to shush us repeatedly. I looked around and then realized that my date and I were the only two black people sitting in this area. I ignored the lady and pretended like she wasn't there.

As the lights dimmed I picked my phone up and proceeded to turn it off as I didn't want it to ring during the show. The light lit bright and I hit the off button. The lady, who I could now see was white, leaned over around her date and put her finger over her mouth and shushed me again. This time too my face. I politely told her, "Excuse me Madame but I was turning my phone off. I was not on it." She then shushed me again. At this point I ignored her and proceeded to watch the opera.

During intermission I went to wash up and got back to my seat to only be approached by the head usher. She grabbed me by my arm and asked me to go with her. I looked at her and told her if she didn't take her hands off me she will have a law suit on her hands. When she let go I walked out with her and asked her what the problem was. She said, "If you are going to be on your phone we will have to ask you to leave." I looked at her and then looked in at the white woman sitting there with a smirk on her face. I looked at this black usher who is also a woman and smiled. I told her I was cutting my phone off and I feel like she approached this situation unprofessionally and I wanted to speak to her supervisor. She then called security. I couldn't believe her. As security came I told them what happened and they too felt she could have approached the situation better. I explained that I saw in her face that just because I am a young black woman, instead of her asking me if I were on my phone she came at me as if I were already guilty. I then told her, "If you saw I were a white woman I'm sure you would not have grabbed her by the arm and proceeded to tell her she were on her phone BUT, you would have politely walked up to her and advised her that someone has complained about her being on her phone and there is rule about being on the phone. BUT because you saw I was a young black woman, instead of approaching me in that manner, you automatically assumed, "she's black, she must have been 0n her phone" and you proceeded to act accordingly in which I do not appreciate." She apologized and because by now I had tears in my eyes of pain, humiliation, and just blood boiling rage, I left, missing the opera in which I paid for. There was NO way I could go back and sit next to that lady with the anger I had inside me. You choose your battles and if I were to stay, that battle would have been lost as I would have reached over and choked that white woman to death.

Why is it that black people cannot be treated like they should? Why are we automatically pointed out with this horrible stereotype of acting ignorant in public? Why are we always the main ones to treat our own people with such ill respect while surrounded by white people?

We have a black president but has anything really changed? We have to start with believing in one another before we can change the whole world.

I was so hurt by this situation, I went home and cried myself to sleep. I still can't believe what happened. Racial discrimination, not just by the white woman but by my own black sista. Why?

Why can't we encourage, love, respect, put us first with each other, and help guide us to be strong and a proud people? For the first time in my life I was embarrassed to be black. Not for what happened but because of the way the black usher acted toward me. I can't judge her situation and what she felt she was doing to keep her job but all I can do is feel how I'm feeling and its anger, pain, frustration, and deep sorrow for her and everyone like her. It was the case of the house negro. She was trying to appease the white man in order to make it seem as if she were doing a good job. She kept looking at the white woman like she was showing her she was doing her job. I was waiting to hear her say, "Yessum mame, I handled it just how you wanted me to. see?" I'm trying to see every ones perspective but I can't accept this behavior any longer.

I have written several emails and complaints in regards to the situation. I have also consulted a lawyer to get my money back for my tickets, which they refuse to refund.

The moral to this story is...........Black people have to put our people first no matter what. We have to always have each others back regardless of stereotypes and what society says about us. Lets love G-d first, ourselves second, our families third, our people fourth, and then everyone and everything else.