Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Racially, I've been 'buked and 'scorned

as a Black quilter sitting in the midst(a store or classroom) of all-white quilters.....

I walk in the quilt store, the bell ding-dongs to signal a customer...  IF the young or older sales girl says HI..... If so, she will thereafter usually stay behind the counter and not further greet or ask if I need help.  

Remember the elephant in the room

When I do walk back to the counter to ask a question.... there is such a dumbfounded look on her face... she asks me to repeat the question...   Seems that she is surprised that I own a Pfaff like the one on sale.... or that I know basic/advanced quilt terminology....     She looks blankly.... she's still trying to figure out my light-yellow complexion... my gray eyes and maybe nappy or shiny pressed hair...

Look lady... I'm a person!  I'm a quilter....  I just wanna shop like anybody else!! I swear I'm not looking for racism.... I'm happy to be alive and out shopping at a quilt store!

Am I overly sensitive.... NO because the next 15-minutes that I stay in the store... EVERY White customer (whether a newcomer of an old-timer) is greeted... walked about for show and tell, or shares some story on a congenial basis with all the other white quilters.

Should I make a purchase -- say I'm next in line ....  BTW --- the customer in front of me gets a thanks so much, come back and see us... is there anything else... have you considered our classes???

I move forward.... ask about a class.... and the hesitancy is there.. what level am I quilting? oh.. I don't know if they are full or not?   I have to ask proactive questions... like may I have a hard-copy, or where is it online, can I add my e-mail???  And the stunning, blank, shocked look (as if a black is invading our quilt gathering...)   the beat goes on.

Last year, I enrolled and showed up to an evening class in Edmond, OK.... The ladies and teached looked like oh... you're here to quilt (mind you the door was locked after 6pm... and who are you..Beverly?)   Lordy, I'm a quilter who frequents your shop...!!!

I was sitting and sewing, the teacher was helpful and superb.... a husband of the quilt lady sitting behind me.... chit chats... and a part of a conversation with the teacher hinges on tools and ideas to make quilting easier.... and I hear the old white man say.... yeah.... that's kinda like a nigger farmer who can make do with anything...

Mind u    ~  this is too good to make up.... can I get my gun and shoot this sucker???

The room is so quiet -- a pin could drop --- the teacher is embarrassed and stunned.  I don't turn around...  In a minute, I turn to the couple on the next teaching point... as a question.... and the couple is confused and glaringly unable to quite answer THIS BLACK WOMAN.... I quickly said never mind ...  I'm not pushed back... and I'm not scared to be in the face of any man or woman or earth!!! (but since I was mad, I said it to belittle them FOR NOT KNOWING the answer...)   Lord I need help!

And the beat goes on.....    

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