Blackhumouristpress's Blog

August 13, 2013

When Maeve Met Medgar

“So if you cannot see, what can you describe to me to help me understand what you know about the color black? As in black people. I’m so interested to hear what you have to say.”
A beautiful young blond and blind woman happened to plop down at the first table she could find at the food court in a mall she had never been to before. She was pouring water into a bowl for her seeing-eye dog. A tall man was eating an ice cream for 49 cents from Mc Donald’s. Medgar loved eating soft serve ice cream going back to the days when he would visit his grandmother in Mississippi in summer months and take pocket change with him and his cousin to the Tastee-Freeze.
Maeve was dropped off by her aunt’s caretaker who was livid that the woman she had cared for, for close to thirty years while she declined with Alzheimer’s, willed her small fortune to her blind niece from Detroit. Aside from assuming that she would inherit the home and money for being a friend and constant companion, Sarah had a thing against German Sheppard dogs whether they were seeing-eye dogs or not. Sarah was Jewish and lost relatives in death camps at the hands of Nazi in Germany. As a girl, Sarah heard stories of German Sheppards snarling and biting hiding Jews in cities in Germany. Oddly enough, Sarah’s great-grandfather was a man who was responsible for creating chemical warfare during World War I and a pesticide called Zyclon A that was eventually modified to kill humans in Nazi death camps and renamed Zyclon B. Sarah was related to that unique man attributed to a lot of death during two world wars. A definite player in human history, German history, modern warfare and a German Jew.
In any event, Maeve would inherit a large Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oak Park, Illinois, Sarah the Caretaker and a few million dollars after the death of her wealthy aunt. The end was drawing near and so Maeve moved from her small apartment in suburban Detroit to suburban Chicago. One warm summer day, Sarah dropped Maeve off at a indoor mall in a lower economic area that had very few Caucasians milling about to buy gaudy t-shirts, cheap jewelry, gym shoes and hip-hop wear. Maeve was told by Sarah that the mall was a nice mall, with nice people just like at home in safe, homogenous Troy, Michigan which is a good fifteen miles from the muck and mire of inner city Detroit.
Maeve, unbeknownst to her, plopped down at the same table as the ice cream eating Medgar. Medgar startled Maeve by speaking to her.
“What a beautiful dog you have, Miss…”
“Oh! I’m sorry; I didn’t know this table was taken. I’ll take another.”
“No need, no need. I’m just sitting here enjoying an ice cream and some air conditioning. Can I buy you an ice cream?”
“Thank you kindly. I am on a strict diet. I’m trying to eat as healthy as possible. I have done research on partially hydrogenated products that are the causes of heart disease. I’m trying to stay away from anything with too many additives. This is my first week in Chicago and I’m truly lost here. I told Sarah that I visited the Summerset Mall in Troy, Michigan nearly everyday. So she decided to bring me here. Is this a nice mall?”
“Well, malls are malls, Right?”
In Troy, the mall had a glass atrium with faux palm trees and resembled a place in Dubai. The mall had granite floors polished so that one could see their reflection and was as clean as if it had just opened. It housed five star restaurants and top shelf department stores. The mall near Berwyn, Illinois catered to lower economic people. There was an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and all the fast-food kiosks that one would find out on the boulevard. People were obese and poor and people of color by in large. Maeve didn’t learn this during her first visit. Medgar, a sensitivity trainer for union workers who were disciplined for racial slurs, was between classes. Most of Medgar’s clientele were white, blue collar, under educated and under cultured, suckled from the tit racists with a fear and disdain of others unlike them. In order to keep their union jobs, they would need to take fifty-hour courses that illustrated the fact that all Americans were immigrants and that all immigrants had taken their turns as the lowest rung on the ladder. There were also testimonials from Asians, Hispanics and African-Americans who had been discriminated against. Most whites left more resolved in their racism but they learned to keep their racism private at work.
“Black… Hmm… Dismal, dank, despair, no light.”
“Light? What is light? “
“Something warm like the sun. I can feel the sun. The sun feels light and airy. The smell of trees and flowers. At night, it is cold and I hear the night is black and black is cold and it doesn’t have sun and warmth… You know?”
“Forgive me for asking but I just think it is so interesting to speak to some who is visually challenged…”
“Visually challenged? Please… That is insulting. I’m blind not stupid.”
“Okay, as you wish… Blind. It is interesting to hear what the blind perceive.”
“I see… Sorry, I hear that all the time. Just thought I would use that phrase even though I can’t actually see.”
“Ha… I got it… So Detroit. Motown. What was that like? Lots of black in Detroit.”
“I was born in the city of Detroit and never went back. All I heard was how screwed up Detroit was going back to the riots after Martin Luther King Jr. From what I hear and know, Detroit was like Rhodesia and has become Zimbabwe and there were too many Robert Mugabe like mayors that ran the city into the ground instead of a Nelson Mandela.”
“That is an interesting analogy. Detroit went from being a prosperous white city to a bankrupt black city. What do you think will save Detroit?”
“White people, white money. It’s okay to have a black city but you cannot exist without whites. I have studied the differences between Chicago and Detroit and the whites have not abandoned Chicago.”
“Did you know that Chicago had a few black mayors?”
“Yes. Did those mayors work with whites?”
“You got me there, Maeve… I am so glad that our paths crossed today. It has been so interesting to me to get your point of view. You being blind and discussing your views is like me being at a dinner party and being invisible. Just listening and taking it in. Good luck here in Chicago.”
Sarah was standing off to the side listening and watching the interchange between a good-looking black man and a good-looking white woman, Maeve. When Medgar departed, Sarah approached Maeve.
“I didn’t hear everything that transpired between you and the gentleman at your table but I do want to make you aware that he was a black man. Did you know that? Did he tell you he was black?”
Maeve furrowed her brow. She felt duped and used. Every black man she had come across in the past had a pseudo, bastardized Deep South accent. Medgar didn’t sound like Amos or Andy. He sounded white as if a color could have a sound. Maeve was embarrassed by the assumption that she was speaking to a white man and ashamed to admit it to Sarah who had been less than nice to here during the short amount of time she had been living with her and her aunt. Sarah asked Maeve what he sounded like to her. Maeve gave a snide answer.
“Well Sarah… He sounded much taller than he looked to me. Can we go home now?”

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: