Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I’ve been in Denver for the past week looking for a job and a place to live. Today I spent my entire morning and afternoon looking at apartments. I’m actually slightly gifted at wheeling and dealing when it comes to me having to pay for something, so I turn on the charm and kiss a little ass when negotiating my lease.
Anyway, I’d like to talk about choosing an apartment based on the complex’s current tenants. I was sort of turned off by a very cheap and fairly decent apartment because of some of the fellow tenants that were standing outside or driving in the parking lot. These tenants fit so many racial stereotypes that it was hilarious but convincing in my choice to not live there. Outside there was a 300 pound black beast woman that was wearing a flower patterned bathrobe at two in the afternoon on a Monday, and she was slapping and screaming her ass off at some scrawny black dude wearing supersized Dickies, an enormous FUBU jersey, and a nicely snug black do-rag on his head. Then there was an Asian lady that was trying to park in a spot that was in the corner of the parking lot and she kept slamming into the squared curve before she could fully turn into the spot. (Some people don’t know about the stereotype of Asians being shitty drivers, but that stereotype does exist.) On the other side of the parking lot there was a Mexican, oops, I mean Hispanic young man that was blasting some Spanish circus music out of his 1985 White Monte Carlo with rims that cost more than the damn car itself. I could tell that this young Latino was obviously on his break from his job at a very sanitary restaurant, because he was in such a hurry that he forgot to take off his hairnet when he left for lunch. Near the mailboxes was an elderly man using a walker. He was wearing plaid pants, golf shoes, a pink polo shirt, and a bright white yarmulke on his head. He looked like one of the evil Jewish New Jerseyites that always talked shit and complained about everyone when I lived in Miami. This entire apartment complex was just one giant racist punch line that was looking for a very politically incorrect joke.
Looking at all of these stereotype practitioners not only made me decide that I wasn’t going to live there, but it also made me think about some stereotypes that my friends and I might fit into. I fucking hate country music but most of my friends love it. So that stereotype excludes me. I am a white guy that drives a nice car and has absolutely no debt. I don’t know if that’s a stereotype but it is usually assumed that white people have more money. I’m a weight lifting meathead that was eating a protein bar while I was looking at this melting pot of tenant dwellers. I can’t dance for shit, I’ve sued somebody, I listen to Neil Diamond sometimes, I like the Beastie Boys and Wu Tang Clan but I hate Lil’ Jon and all of that ATL bullshit, I lived in a trailer home when I was a baby, and I know how to ride a horse. There really isn’t that many racial stereotypes towards middle class white American men. I should feel lucky but I don’t. I kind of wish that there was some sort of stereotype for me to fall into, just so I could go against it and maybe surprise some off-white racists of Caucasians. Stereotypes are natural and I sort of feel left out by the fact that I don’t really have one, aside from the poor dancing skills.
I don’t believe that I am a bigot simply because I recognize stereotypes when they are being played out directly in front of me. Besides, a young Hispanic man should take some responsibility for the stereotype just as soon as he decides that it would be cool to put his last name on his rear windshield in white Old English letters. I didn’t create these stereotypes, the victims of these stereotypes created them all by themselves. So fuck anyone that thinks somebody is racist just because they notice a common theme amongst any race, gender, religion, or age group. Finding patterns is a very natural thing for people to do. I don’t consider a person to be unbiased or “color blind” because they can’t recognize stereotypes when they are looking at a group of people. I consider those people to either be blind or just plain stupid.
By the way, I forgot to mention that the sales woman in the leasing office was an overweight African-American woman with an empty KFC bag on the corner of her desk.