Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Crime: Renting While Black

Today had a sobering moment that reminded me that even in a progressive bubble like San Franciso, racism can rear its ugly head unexpectedly. Ralowe, Lance, and I had arrived at a video store, after purchasing bicycles at a nearby shop. Lance, who is white, decided to stay outside to watch his bike, while Ralowe, who is black, went in to get the movie with Lance's card. A few minutes later, Ralowe came back and said that the video store clerks wanted to talk to Lance. Lance returned, movie in hand, though with a slightly annoyed look on his face.

"They wanted to make sure that my card wasn't stolen by you," Lance said.

"Typical," Ralowe replied.

What actually surprised me most was not that the clerks thought Ralowe might have stolen the card. Racist fumblings like that happen a lot. But I was very surprised that the clerks *told* Lance their suspicions after it had already been established that Lance and Ralowe were friends. You would think they would've wanted to keep their snafu under wraps.

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