Thursday, May 26, 2011

White people

I hesitate to post about this, because it might offend some people, but for all my life, I have tried to avoid buying articles of clothing with pictures of white people on them. I have nothing against you, white people! But there are so many of you - in my neighborhood, my career, my social life - I don't need to see you depicted on my clothing. Plus, as a minority, I feel that I should be going above and beyond to find positive portrayals of black people to wear. Trust me when I tell you, it's hard to find positive portrayals of black people on clothing. Sigh.

As I've mentioned on my blog before, an old boss once tried to give me a pair of cufflinks with white babies depicted on them! "Oh, no!" I practically screamed at him. "I'm not going to walk around this place with a pair of white babies on my wrist!" It helps the story if you imagine that the place of work was Sotheby's, where I was the only black man employed, aside from the art handlers.

Imagine this, then ... after a weeks-long search for the perfect pair of khaki pants, after I had ventured bravely into what is consistently my fashion Waterloo, Urban Outfitters, found a pair of khakis that I loved (slim fit, a slightly olive tint), laundered this pair of pants (thus rendering them unreturnable), and then hung them up ... Imagine my shock at looking closer at the pocket after something had caught my eye ... closer, still closer ... and then realizing, with a sinking feeling, that a bunch of white children - practically microscopic but still there! - were cavorting around inside the button.

I have many racial hangups, it's true. This story illustrates just one of them.

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