Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Playing with my money is like playing with my emotions...

Today I was reminded of something I blurted late one night about seven years ago after I had a few redbull and vodkas. I was out with my friend and we met some Jewish singles that were doing a pub crawl, and we decided to crawl with them to the last couple places they were going. That was only one of three nights that I've ever had Redbull and vodka, but I have decided that it is the best drink to have when you really want to party. You're welcome.

Anyway, I was walking with my new friends and I said, I hate going to the drycleaners!

I should mention that we were walking past a dry cleaner.

I then proceeded to explain to them that I actually hate going anywhere to purchase a good or service where the prices are not clearly posted. This is not something that I had really thought much about until I saw this Primetime Live story in high school. They had two guys white and black go different places, act and dress the same, and see what happened.

Through the magic of the internet, I was able to find the program. Feel free to watch if you want. Personally, I found it riveting:

And if you're a masochist, you can watch part II here.

If you don't have time, what you see is a whole bunch of racism. And at about 8 minutes into the first video, the black guy goes to a car dealership and is quoted a higher down payment and total cost for the exact same car from the exact same car salesman.

I can get kind of get past the other stuff, but when you start to mess with my money, I get angry. I mean seriously--DON'T MESS WITH MY MONEY!!! Unlike Big Worm, I think it's actually worse than playing with my emotions. Because I can do my own work to deal with my emotions. But money is an actual tangible, fungible, finite thing that I can use to pay off debt, save for retirement, or send my kids to college. And when your racist ass tries to make me pay $1500 more for a car...WTF? I'm going to stop, because I can feel myself getting less coherent because of my strong desire to punch that car salesman in the face.

So ever since I saw that I am very wary of doing business in places without posted prices/with negotiable prices. And today I decided to go the auto body shop to see how much it cost to fix some scrapes on my car. The guy (older white guy) was actually quite nice and gave me two quotes--one if we wanna just do a basic fix and one if we wanna go ultra with it. And the most expensive quote was actually several hundred dollars less than the quote my white husband got when he took the car to a different body shop. But because of that video, I can't help but wonder what price my husband would have been quoted if he'd brought it into that same shop.

If I may, allow me to preemptively respond to some comments from Anonymous.

That black salesmen ignored the black guy too!

I know, Anonymous. That's called internalized racism, and it sucks much like racism racism.

Women/ugly people/gay people/short people/whatever kind of other people get treated badly too!

Yes, I know--what is your point?

If you get ripped off on a car, that's your fault--it's your responsibility to be a savvy consumer.

Yeah, I can see where you're coming from with this one. At the same time, I don't want to live in a world where people are constantly trying to rip other people off, behaving illogically, and just generally being a-holes. If enough people decide that such behavior is unacceptable, it could be eliminated--or at least drastically reduced.

Wow, your blog is quite amazing! Your writing is smooth and wet. Please check out my blog [_insert hyperlink to some shady as hell website here_]

Damn you, Russian spammers! I took captchas off my blog in hopes more people would comment, and now I have to deal with getting all excited when I see I have a comment only to find this crap.

This video is really old--we have a black president now!

Both of those things are true. Readers, what do you think the outcome would be if they filmed this in 2014? I myself can't say, but if I had to guess I'd say you'd find similar results. The eternal optimist in me says perhaps the incidences of racism would be less frequent, not daily like they said in the video. But I think they would still occur, because this happened to me when Barack Obama had already been president for three years.

Stop complaining/get over it/you're being to sensitive/etc.,etc.etc.

Anonymous, 8 years in and I'm finally starting to get tired of your shit. Read this and then go away.

Ok, ok, ok, you don't have to go away...I was just letting my frustrations get the best of me. If you want to engage me in good faith, I'll continue to talk to you. Because I truly believe that we have to talk all this -ish out. Because like MLK said We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.

I suppose a third option would be brothers who finally decide they will never be able to get along and live in different parts of what used to be the United States but became several separate countries. Said brothers don't talk on the phone, aren't Facebook friends, and never see each other--not even on holidays...I'm thinking the first option is probably better.

Okay, I'm talking to all of you again.

Did you know MLK's name at birth was actually Michael? His father changed both their names when Junior was 6, to honor the father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther. I learned that when I did a report on him in 7th grade. How to stop being racist #18: Encourage your kids to do reports on black people. In my 20 years of schooling, I can't recall a white classmate ever doing a report on a black person.

So dear readers...

What was your reaction to the video?
What were those shoe salesmen thinking? Don't shoe salesmen work on commission?
Answer these questions, or write about whatever else you want in the comments.

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  1. Anonymous7:29 PM

    i didn't know your husband was white (bc i didn't stumble upon your blog until recently). and as i always love to tell folks: my firstborn is named MLK.

  2. Anonymous7:31 PM

    oops, hit "enter" too soon. i meant to use present tense - i didn't know your husband IS white. most of our friends in our 'hood in NYC and at our church are interracial 'cept for us.

  3. Anonymous8:13 PM

    This blog is a great idea, way to go! I enjoyed doing reports on MLK Jr. and Malcolm X maybe because I grew up with friends of different races. Based on general disparities between races I would think minorities would be quoted lower prices by assuming they cannot afford as much; racism is a strange animal.

  4. There are more recent studies showing discrimination is still going on. There was an article recently about how tight the rental market is, an how hard it is for single women of color to find a place. Accepting the idea of buyer be ware is accepting the idea that it's OK to take advantage of more vulnerable people.

  5. This is sobering. Thanks for posting.

    Also, your comment about Russian spammers made me choke.

  6. I am so painfully, ridiculously behind on your blog, myblackfriend!! I really do plan to go back and read/comment on everything. The full time school thing is truly kicking my ass... but I feel like it's necessary and critical you get some ROCK ON, SISTER!! kind of support. ;-) As always, you're a fantastic thinker and writer (and did I mention funny?) and this post is awesome. Keep doing what you're doing!