Thrawn Rickle 85

Racism - Alive and Well in Southern California

© 2005 Williscroft

The following event happened to me recently. I relate it as accurately as I can, and am actively resisting putting a spin on the telling.

I have been consulting for a small law firm in downtown Los Angeles. The firm is located on the top floor of a twelve story office building on Wilshire Boulevard at the edge of Korea Town. A five-story parking garage connects to the building; this firm has two reserved spaces on the first basement level (I said it was a small firm). Typically, I have been parking in open spaces to keep the two reserved spaces available for the partners.

As I was leaving this afternoon, I noticed a car pull into the senior partner's spot - it certainly wasn't his car. A guy got out of the car: He was a tough looking black male in his mid thirties, a bit overweight, but obviously someone who was familiar with the streets and street survival. I hailed him and pointed out that he had used a reserved space, and that by the time he returned, his car most certainly would have been towed.

This guy's response was nothing short of remarkable. So far as I can tell, I had done him a favor. But, on the other hand, he could not have missed the reserved sign - it's pretty obvious. I can assume, therefore, that this guy probably is in the habit of doing exactly what he wants, with complete disregard for the “rules,” at least rules like reserved parking.

He became instantly belligerent, asking who the f-k I thought I was, telling him what to do. I explained (reasonably - without an angry retort) that I worked for the firm, and was familiar with their policies. His car would be towed, I said again, if he didn't move it.

I then walked to my own car, while his angry insults followed me. Then he threatened to beat me up - his actual words were that he was going to “kick my f-ng ass!” (For the record, I am 62, but don't look my age, and like to think that with my background and training, I would have given a good account of myself had he actually tried to carry out his threats.)

Following the physical threat, I decided to go back to the lobby and let security know that we had a loose cannon in the basement. As I was waiting for the elevator, this guy drove slowly past me, shouting - now get this - racial epitaphs at me. I was a mother f-ng white a-hole who thought I was better than he. And he would show me what a Black does to a white mother f-kr.

I got on the elevator, went up one level and waited by the security desk for this guy to appear, since he had to drive right past this station to get out of the garage. As he drove past, he rolled down his window, and threatened once again to “kick my f-ng ass.”

I asked security - these guys are all either Black or Hispanic, and they all know and like me - to stop this guy from departing the building, and accompany me to have a discussion with him. This is when it got especially interesting. A big fat Black mama in her security uniform chose to accompany me.

She stood back a bit, and I approached his open window, and accused the guy of threatening me with bodily harm, and at this point he began to realize that he may have bitten off more than he could chew, because he denied threatening me, and toned his rhetoric down to just yelling racial epitaphs and deliberate insults, perhaps attempting to goad me into hurling the first blow. He challenged me to step outside the garage so he could “teach my f-ng white ass a lesson!“

After a couple of minutes of this garbage, security told him to depart the building, or they would call the police. Then (!) they forced him to pay for his parking - all fifteen minutes of it. Since he clearly was out manned at this point, he paid and drove away, pealing rubber as he went.

As I returned to the security desk with the guard, she and I were talking about his attitude. She said, and I agreed, that this guy's attitude was way outside what either of us had experienced before. I said I thought that kind of garbage had disappeared decades ago. She agreed.

But I gotta tell you: This guy's hatred was right up front. I haven't the slightest doubt that had this happened somewhere in South LA at night, my son Jason would be writing my eulogy right now, if I couldn't have killed him before he killed me.

I have a gut feeling that this problem is not an isolated incident. I suspect these kinds of feelings lie just beneath the surface in a lot of South LA Blacks, and in a lot of Blacks in other tough neighborhoods around the country. No argument on Earth will change this guy's mind. He hates “Whites.” In their minds “Whites” have marginalized him and his cohorts, and they hate “us” for this. And I suspect he would group Collen Powell and Condaleeza Rice right along with the rest of “us.”

The Republicans certainly don't have an answer, and neither do the Dems. Libertarians speak the right language, but guys like this won't listen to them either. I've thought about this problem in theoretical terms for a long time, but today it was in my face, and I didn't like what I saw, and feel helpless to do anything about it.