You know I'm not lying. Things in this country are as bad if not worse than they've ever been.
And you know it's true.
I've been pretty lucky in my life in this country. Growing up, I have to say, I don't remember too many overtly racist incidents directed my way. I remember when my Girl Scout troop disbanded, to find out later that the troop leader really did not want a "brown girl" in her troop. And I know that's not the Girl Scout way. There were other things during my growing up years. Now and then my mother reminds me of things that happened that I'd forgotten. Let's say nothing that I've allowed to define my life. I know many people who've had it much worse than me.
A self indulgent way of saying I've had it pretty good? Almost definitely.
But in the last few years I've seen things getting worse. Casual remarks by people thinking they could get away with it. Petty things they expect on one to notice.
And in the last two weeks I've been the receiver.
I have to talk about them here so they won't run around my head like rabid weasels.
Two weeks ago, I was crossing the parking lot, to go into the grocery store. Not really paying attention to who was coming or going. After all, it was the middle of the day. I saw a man walking toward me but he didn't impinge on my conscious. Until a wad of spit landed about an inch from my shoe. And then I actively heard what was coming out of his mouth: "You whore." "Bitch." "Go back to where you came from." "Animal whore." It went on.
Hard things to hear.
Even harder not to react.
What am I supposed to do? Believe me, it's very hard to realize you have to go back to work and work the entire rest of the day, thinking about it.
Which is what I did. I walked around his spit without flinching. Didn't give him the satisfaction of seeing me cringe away from the words and walked into the grocery store, did my shopping, and went back to work.
I tweeted about it when I got back to work. Had a pretty lively discussion on Facebook.
And have tried to put it away.
Yesterday, something else.
I should give some back story.
LAUSD send out magnet school applications for middle schoolers in mid-September. The applications have to be turned in by mid-November. We get the applications sent to us at the library. Usually English and Spanish. And the English ones go quickly.
People usually grab the Spanish ones towards the end. Or apply from the LAUSD website.
Yesterday morning, within five minutes of opening, a woman came to the desk with one of the Spanish language applications in her hand. She smacked it down on the desk and said, "I only speak English, as is proper for an American, why can't I have an English application in this Englsh speaking community?
I kid you not.
It got worse.
"Why can't you dumb brown people give me what I want?"
"You're too stupid to understand how important this is."
Really, lady? I am smart enough to know that 14 Novembre 2014 in Spanish is November 14, 2014 in English. And the application due date. Whic h you missed.
More from angry lady. "Damn brown people coming illegally to this country and taking all the jobs. None of you following the law. And all of you getting ahead."
It was like watching a live version of Fox News.
"This is an English speaking community, you shouldn't have any of these other languages."
It is, in fact, not.
It's probably a good thing she didn't notice the voter registration forms in Chinese, Vietnamese, Hindi, and Spanish. I shudder to think what that would have brought on.
I told her to leave. Politely, but definitely with tone. Because the branch was full of "brown" people. People like me. And small children.
And I don't have to put up with it.
So no, it's not getting better.