My Racist Neighbor

Racism Still Rampant in our Country
Racism Still Rampant in our Country

The words cut like a knife as they rolled off the tounge of my neighbor and made their point as an afront on my race and my heritage. In this day and age it were hard for me to comprehend how another human being could still hold such views and perpetuate the falsehoods and stereotypes.

Despite the sacrafices of many ,the scars of racism are still clearly evident in our society and our communities.
I just never expected to find it next door !
While my Neighbor and I had choosen this community for many of the same reasons,  Little did I realize at the time how different the view of the lake were from our respective points of view.
It began innocently enough. a brand new development I were the first to move in and felt relief when I noticed my first Neighbor moved in on a saturday morning. I made it a point to let them get settled for a day, then knocked to introduce myself and welcome them to the building. I thought I sensed aprehension as the eye stared through the peephole for an unusual length of time. None the less we made our introductions in a cordial and neighborly manner.
At this point i feel it best to give the following annonymus names to protect and spare them from being labeled as Racists. We shall call them Melissa X and Aaron X.
 As the following weeks ensued we exchanged smiles and pleasantries.a sense of safety and mutual trust and respect developed despite our differences. “Or So I thought.”
 We bumped into one another on July 2nd of last year having both returned from the supermarket while making preperations for our respective 4th of July festivities.
Perhaps caught up in the  spirit of country and patriotism. Or accepting that we did indeed share being ” Americans.” Melissa X was in a jovial and light hearted mood. We discussed the weather forecast and our respective plans for the 4th. As fate would have it we were both having family over .
 It was then that it slipped out. “what are you grilling Kevin ?” Melissa X  inquired.
” Ribs and Steak” I replied. with the usual side dishes.
 I felt a storm brewing as i watched Aaron X cringe as he awaited what were to come next (as though he had been put in this akward position before) it proved to be prophetic on his part as she looked me in the eyes and spoke the words i will never forget.
 ” Rib’s?” “….. Rib’s?” , “Kevin a white boy dont know “shit ” about cooking no Rib’s.” She scowled at me.
 After the initial shock and subsequent laughter on my part had subsided. I pointed out the absurdity of the statement to Melissa X .
Not only was I staring a racist and sterotypical statemnt in the face, it were an afront to my manhood.
 Since Adam and Eve, man had a special connection to the “rib” I quickly pointed out to Melissa X. In addition barbecue or the art of cooking over fire dated back to the caveman!
 I defended my manhood my race and above all ” my Rib’s” with gusto and hard hitting facts like the ones pointed out above. Still Adamant in her racist views Melissa X repeated her initial claims.
 I immediately challenged her to a cook off to setlle our little racist dispute! and since we both would have family present for the day,we decided on the mothers as our judges.
 Smiling and confidently we returned to our respective homes carrying the prepaerations for ” Independence day.” There were bound to be fireworks!
 After unloading my groceries I returned to the supermarket for additonal weapons to fight this racism. Returning home a short while later I began marinading my Ribs, then I walked next door to reaffirm our challenge and deliver my neighbor a gift of the biggest Watermelon in the supermarket! ” See you tomorrow I snickered.”
 The following morning the smell of wood chips, liquid smoke and barbeque permeated the air. The sound of fireworks set off by anxious revelers added to the atmosphere. The respective families began arriving and were informed of the ” showdown at sundown.”
 Having been marinaded, smoked, dry rubbed and sufficently cooked to perfection I was confident my Ribs would be ready for the challenge!
 I carried my platter of Ribs confidently and we set them side by side in front of  Melissa X’s lovely mother Hazel.
As the challenge began Hazel lifted one of my super special Ribs from the platter. As most of the meat slipped from the bone as she picked it up, Ms. X’s mother looked her daughter in the eye and uttered the following  words ” Your in trouble Baby” Hazel said to Melissa X.
And as the “white boys” ribs were passed throughout the family gathered that day. the sounds of ” Melissa he has you beat” and ” wow these are good” were music to my ears.
 As both families enjoyed one anothers company that day, and more food and fun than we could possibly have had the right to have. I was proud to be an American, proud to have a sense of humor, and certain that My wonderful racist neighbor would provide many great stories in the future! As the evening ended Melissa pulled me close and whispered…..”  just so you know Kevin, I guarantee my Chicken is better.”  But most of all I take solace knowing that the view from our respective peephole’s reveal a friend.
 
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~ by onthedarkside on April 5, 2009.

6 Responses to “My Racist Neighbor”

  1. BEAUTIFUL.

  2. awe, you write this story better than you tell it

  3. Ribs know no color. You, Kevin, are simply the Man.

  4. “You in trouble baby”. You are the master of the pit and no one does liquid smoke better than you! Excellent story!

  5. Excellent! I love the words you choose, so elegant and calm. While I’m sure your feelings differed. The climax was great and unexpected. I was awaiting a “knock out” of some sort. But ended pleasantly.

  6. Well, my mouth is watering. I want some. Kevin, you have the true American spirit. Thank you for including me in your fan base.

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