Trying to Understand

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Did the whole sisterhood movement end and no one told me? Because I’ve been living under the impression that Black women hold each other up, encourage one another, support one another. And sadly, recent encounters are showing me otherwise. I seem to keep crossing paths with the sisters who don’t seem to like me, my cat, or my dog. And it’s not pissing me off. It’s breaking my heart.

This morning I stopped at McDonald’s and got my usual breakfast. I asked the cashier if she could please make sure that my sausage McMuffin was fresh because the last time I was there, they gave me a cold biscuit. She had attitude with that. I could see it in her body language and all over her face. I wasn’t ugly or mean. I simply want the food I’m paying for to be hot. But she gave me an eye roll when she thought I wasn’t looking. Why the attitude my sister? I just want some hot food.

At my part time job, I deal with the public directly. I am a cashier at soul food restaurant here in Charlotte and 95% of our customers are Black. Sad to say, but I have received some of the worst treatment at the hands of my “sisters”. I’m STILL trying to figure out why. Because even on my worst day, I am still going to give you friendly and professional service. You’re a customer who chose to eat with us. Why would I not give you A+ service? I get that we have bad days. I get that. I don’t know what you went thru before you came into our establishment. So I greet everyone the same. Same smile. Same warmth. Same professional manner.

Whenever I have a couple standing in front of me to place an order, I always greet the female first. I don’t want her to be under any impression that I’m being too friendly with her boyfriend/fiancé/husband. I immediately acknowledge her and ask her how she’s doing. I smile real big like I do for everyone who comes thru our doors. And even then, I’ve been given the up-down. I’ve been flat out ignored. I’ve been talked down to like I was stupid, yelled at, and cussed out. By Black women. This one group of youngins came in one day just ready to be a pain. They had attitude and were just mean to me and the other employees. And you know, I felt every ounce of unity and sisterhood when one of them rolled her eyes at me and said under your breath, “This red bitch think she cute.” I’m pretty sure I deserved it though. I mean, I mean I did smile and ask her how she was doing when she walked in. Maybe I offended her somewhere in those few words.

Then there are the times when I have a man who’s being too nice right in front of his girlfriend/fiancé/wife. I remember this one time when I was covering for a server while she was on break. A couple sat down at a table and they were girlfriend & boyfriend. As I walked up to the table I noticed them looking down at the menu. So I greeted them with my usual greeting of “How are y’all doing today?” so I could get their attention. The guy looked up first and he smiled real big and said, “Well hello”. I just smiled back and turned to her with a smile and said, “Ma’am, how are you? Whatcha having to drink?” I had to ask twice because she was too busy giving him daggers with her eyes to acknowledge me. And when she finally did acknowledge me, she gave me the up-down and then looked at him real ugly again. And for the rest of the night, nothing I did was good enough for her. She ran me back and forth all night and nitpicked everything I did. But I kept smiling and kept being nice and I gave them excellent service even though I knew she was not feeling me at all. Her boyfriend was still being overly friendly with me though and that upset her more. But she didn’t address him. She took it out on me as much as she could without flat out showing her ass in a public place. He left me a $10 tip and as they were leaving I her heard telling him, “What the f*** you smiling all in that b**** face for? You think she cuter than me or something?” He paid her no attention and kept walking like she wasn’t even talking to him. Things like that happen on the regular actually.

Now let me be honest. I do think I’m pretty. I have very pretty eyes that I got from my Daddy. And these cute freckles that I got from Dad as well. My hubby loves he freckles. I have a nice smile that comes to my face easily, and I’m able to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. And on a good day, I can tell a good anecdote or two. But am I conceited? Nope. I’m just convinced of who I am, inside and out. And even though I think I’m pretty, I am not going to be flirting with your man right in front of you. One, that’s disrespectful because I’m married, and two, that’s disrespectful and rude because he’s your man. I’m just not gonna do that.

I’ve seen guys come into the restaurant with women who had bodies to die for. They had flat stomachs. A booty that looked amazing in leggings. Nice perky boobs that sat up without the help of underwire. Their eyebrows were slayed to the gods. Their nails were filed to perfection. Oh but that attitude. It stank to high heaven. And now your man is grinning at me being all chatty and I’m standing there wearing black leggings and a black tee shirt, with a body like Mrs. Claus. My stomach hasn’t been flat since 1994 and Lane Bryant’s bras are the only reason these boobs aren’t touching my belly button. But clearly your man doesn’t care. He’s not looking at my plump body, he’s digging my attitude. That’s why he’s being too friendly and smiling too much. He got a whiff of my sweetness instead of your sourness and now he’s Mr. Chuckles and grinning at me and wanting to be all chatty. Ma’am, I don’t want him and I am not encouraging his attention. Direct your venom at him, not at me. And work on that funky attitude while you’re at it.

I struggled with writing this article. I was like, How do I explain what I deal with without sounding like I’m stuck up or like I’m a conceited bitch or worse, a hater? The things in this article are what happened to ME. This is how I perceived things. And I could be wrong, but I really don’t think I am. And there’s more I could say, but I won’t. Well not right now. But I’m coming back around to this whole “sisterhood” thing. Like I said, I’m not angry. I’m hurt. I don’t understand why there seems to be so much competition between us? Why is an attractive women immediately perceived as a threat, and not an ally or future friend? Why am acting White because I’m smiling and being professional with you? Why am I always a “light skinned bitch” or a “red bitch”? Why am I not just a bitch? Why you gotta bring my shade of melanin into it? I don’t get it. Why can’t we ladies just all get along like Rodney King said we should. Am I wrong or naïve for wanting that?

L Thompson