Her Great-Great-Granddad: A Slave Owner. Mine, Fled Hitler
Around 4am, the rush was finally over. My coworker and I walked outside and sat leaning against the restaurant wall as we do every night after the rush. We ripped on our vapes as we gossiped our frustrations of the night and laughed at the “you can’t make this shit up” stories.
You Can’t Make This Shit Up Stories
Tonight, a couple got into a fight in the parking lot and through a Hennessy bottle against the restaurant window. Everyone in the room ducked; it sounded like a bullet ricocheting against the triple pane. I didn’t duck. I just sighed, “I’m probably going to need to get better car insurance.” She and all the others in the room laughed, “white people on some different level shit.” Me. I’m the white people. I couldn’t help but laugh, standing, seeing everyone ducking, realizing I’m the only one worried about insurance rates (to be fair it was thrown close to where my car was parked).
We’ve spent many hours talking and talking on the slow nights, laughing about the craziness of the busier ones. And this night, we crossed the line of politics and the current racism displayed in main stream media.
Tonight she asked me, “Why do they all just hate you?”
Lets be very clear- she is a dark-skinned African-American Biden Supporter and I am an extremely pale white blonde-haired blue eyed Trump Supporter. This has never come between our friendship. In fact, we laugh about it. We laugh thinking about how the world might look at us. How the extremes of each one of our sides would probably disavow our friendship; but this, honestly, only makes our friendship stronger.
In this town, I am the minority. Customers walk-in and immediately judge me on my skin color and assume that I hate them, and therefore, treat me horribly and hate me. Time and time again, she has pulled me into conversation, making it clear that “I’m her girl,” and only then will I be treated cordially. Being new to the area, my coworker never has had a “white” friend. I giggled as she said: “I told my momma I got me a white friend now. And we all know you crazy white friends will have our back like that Kat Williams stand up.”
I laughed, “it’s true though, call me up at 3am I ain’t going to be mad ya called, won’t ask questions, just want to know where I gotta show up, because I got you.”
Tonight she asked me, “Why do they all just hate you? Like they’re out right mean bih.” I took another drag off my vape and said, “well if you believed everything on TV wouldn’t you assume I hate you too? Its cyclical. The MSM wants blacks to think whites hate them, and in return blacks hate whites and then whites hate blacks and so on and so forth. Somewhere, the cycles got to break, before there’s a civil war… but maybe that’s what the media wants. To push us to the brink of internal war. Notice how the negative stories go viral and make national news? Well what about the nice ones, maybe a glance, but no one remembers them.”
There was a pause. Vape smoke filled the air. She sighs, “Well bih, ya’ll and I don’t mean you but you know what I mean,” I nodded because I did, “ya’ll owned slaves, your ancestors.”
Our Ancestral History
“Mine didn’t honestly, towards the end of WWII my family came through Ellis Island fleeing Hitler’s reign and we were German go figure… just not pure enough German because we mixed with Hungarians.” She burst into laughter.
“Bih YOU GLOW IN THE DARK WHITE. But ya, my great-great-grand daddy was one of the biggest slave owners in the South. Extremely wealthy. But then my great-grandaddy messed it all up with the drinking and lost everything.” I laughed even harder.
“Oh great bo, this Yankee is going to have to pay you reparations for her family not owning slaves and your southern family losing the profits. Welcome to 2020.”
She smirked, “I got CashApp.”
We laughed and laughed. The world has gotten so obscure, so sensitive in words, terminology, and re-writing as well as correcting history.
Do we agree on every policy? No. Do we agree on everything? No. Do we still enjoy one another and laugh at the stupidity of this world. Heck yes we do. Do I make fun of my awkward non-coordinated whiteness. OH YES. Yes I do. But that’s what makes me me. And she laughs to.
“Well bih, ya’ll and I don’t mean you but you know what I mean,” I nodded because I did, “ya’ll owned slaves, your ancestors.”
I will go between her in the cook with drinks, “let me just squeeze by you” and she bursts out with “white people be like” and we all laugh. Or when I went to leave and forgot my car keys, I came back in grabbed them and awkwardly announced “Not going to get far without these”. Another White People Be Like moment.
One night a “Karen” as you might call her came into the restaurant and was really rude, and mean to a young man. My girl was there and watched the whole interaction. I kindly said, “he’s new, please be patient, as well as am I, and we are having a little bit of a rookie night.” The Karen became really passive aggressive, petty, and sneered, saying how she was a “cook here for 12 years and” blah blah blah. I’m like ok Karen. Want to play petty? I grew up with petty passive aggressive Karens. I smiled, “Oh really? That’s amazing. How’d that retirement work out for you” I gleemed. Karen shut up. My coworker goes “damn bih, I never seen white people fights that shit different levels of petty.” I giggled. “Don’t test my white petty gangster. I know petty.” We laughed and laughed as Karen stormed out upset her life amounted to **attempting** to put down a young African-American man about how amazing she was for doing the same job as him for 12 years- meanwhile for him it would only be a part-time High-School gig.
She smirked, “I got CashApp.”
Our Friendship is Love
Are we meaning to downplay the systemic racism in the country or pretend it never or doesn’t exist? No.
But we are choosing love and laughter. We are choosing every day to move forward, to protect one another. Yes.
We are friends. Society might not like it. But we don’t care. We understand each other, and empathize the best we can with one another’s cultures, and struggles. We find humor in each other’s differences but appreciate them. ITs what makes us, us.
We are Americans. We are young. We listen to one another’s woes, and find we face the same daily struggles.
And our friendship… our friendship is love.
*These are my life stories
*All names/places have been changed for confidentiality