The other day I was the recipient of road rage. In short a guy thought that I was trying to take the parking spot he spotted (though I saw it first anyways), but I was actually reversing to take the newly-opening spot to the left. I was actually being polite, and even put my blinker on to signify that I was going left -- NOT RIGHT. That doesn't stop him from blowing at me repeatedly, though. Both cars in their respective spots pull out nearly simultaneously, and I wave my hand to indicate that he can pull into his spot first. (I didn't want his spazz ass to crash into me, thinking I was going for his spot.) Well, this jackass, before driving past me into the spot, stops to flip me off and mouth obscenities. I was FUR.I.OUS! Here I was, actually being polite, giving him a spot that I was very well entitled to, and he still assumes I'm being a bitch. In shock, I impulsively responded to his tirade in like fashion. By the time I got out of my car I was fuming. "I wasn't trying to take your lil funky spot!" I announced loudly. (Not only was that very uncharacteristic of me, but also not the smartest move since the guy could've been a psycho.) My eyes met with the eyes of a white couple in their car staring fearfully at me. That was the beginning of my fed-upness.
At my next stop, a little French bakery, there was a sorority-type chick all up in my personal space, repeatedly asking if I've ordered yet, like I don't know ordering protocol or something. I found myself getting so irritated by her "it's my world" attitude. The thing is, the annoying sense of entitlement that she exhibited is not uncommon, especially in this predominantly white yuppie area of town. But after the previous incident, that was it: I was done with white people for the rest of the day.
That feeling has never happened to me before. I even had to call up Quel to air my grievances. She helped me realize that it was actually the sense of entitlement that some whites exhibit that I was really fed up with.
What I also didn't realize at the time, was that it was the same day that I had read what Imus and the other guy said about the Rutgers women and had also engaged in some discussion about it on Rell's blog. I thought that I had gotten it out of my system, but as it turns out I was still a little bit sensitive. It wasn't until Tuesday night, as I reflected on Monday's events that I realized why I was so out of sorts: Imus is not just Imus and Rutgers Women are not Just Rutgers Women.
Just like Imus felt it was no big deal to categorize the black female ballplayers from Rutgers as he did, this guy felt like he was within his right to flip me off and use derogatory language against me. Obviously this is completely arguable and I have not one iota of proof, however my gut tells me that if I were the same person in the same situation, but painted white, this young, white executive in his power suit wouldn't have spoken to me that way, and Imus tells me that my gut reaction is not that far-fetched. But black women aren't seen as delicate and fragile like white women, are we? We can be yelled at, dumped on, degraded, by people of all races and genders, even our own, and we are supposed to shake it off and not take it personally, not be too sensitive. Like other remnants of slavery, this stereotype that we can handle anything works to our detriment and results in our being used as the "mules of the world." Well, dammit, I'm sensitive and fragile, too! Protect me. Respect me.
So the reason the Imus thing affected me is because Imus' degradation of black women is merely a representation of the rest of the world's tendency to disrepect us. And the immediate lackluster response is representative of the tendency for no one to defend us. I heard on the radio this morning something about Imus being fired. I wasn't signing petitions or anything, but if he was disciplined to that extent, I hope that will at least cause others to think twice before defecating on us.