(I wrote this while I was in college working at the mall in a woman’s clothing store in the mid 90’s. I know, a male working at a woman’s clothing store, very progressive of me at the time. And by the way, I’m not even remotely racist, so just relax while you read this. I make fun of all people, regardless of their color.)
While at work the other day, I was reminded of the horrible cultural phenomenon sweeping through the South. A light-skinned African American girl walked gracefully into my store and I noticed she had one of our black, plastic bags curled between her fingers. As I looked closer, I could see that the bag was nearly full. This meant either one of two things; she wanted to return or exchange merchandise.
I approached her, like a good assistant manager should, and asked if I could help her. As she opened her mouth to speak I was nearly blinded by several gold, capped teeth, especially by the left front tooth that was gold with a diamond shaped into the middle.
“Yes, I done bought these jeans a couple week ago and they too tight. Some crazy body must a’ sized these mo fo’s wrong. I fina make a exchangement,” she said with misguided confidence.
Before the shock set in I told her I would take her bag to the register and showed her where the rest of the jeans in the store were. I turned to walk back to the register and rolled my eyes distantly into the back of my head and tried to figure out what the hell an “exchangement” was. Living in the South, I often heard people speak with horrible grammar, but this customer may win the prize.
I let her browse a little and I noticed that she was apparently frustrated with something as her eyes were straining and I could see a few creased lines in her brow. Against my better judgment I decided to find out what the problem was. She saw me coming near her and immediately turned towards me.
“Why’s come you ain’t got no real girl jeans in this bitch? I needs a 20 Regular.”
I told her that the jeans in our store only went up to a size 16.
“Well then I guess I’s gonna gets me a refundment then,” she blabbed with even more misguided confidence.
I smiled graciously and gave her money back for the jeans as quickly as possible. By now I was ready for her to leave my store. After I handed her the money she pulled a heavy stack of what looked like bumper stickers from her back pocket.
“You want to buy a sticka for yo ride?” she asked.
The bumper sticker was white with bold black letters that read, “SUPPORT EBONICS; THE NATIVE LANGUAGE.”
I cringed as everything began to make horrible sense now. I explained to her that I would have to consultment with my supervisment before I could make any decisionments concerning the supportagement of Ebonics. I was really stepping over the line with that statement, but I just couldn’t help myself. She was noticeably agitated and turned her back on me and left without another word. My goal was accomplished, she was no longer speaking.
The world really is a silly place.
(This is true, up until the bumper sticker part, I couldn’t help adding that. And remember, I can’t be a racist because I dislike all people equally.)