My Indigenous Heritage, Racism, and My Car

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SECTION 1 – WOMAN is a young Indigenous woman at a grocery store parking lot, taking her groceries to her car. She is singing, having a good time. She finds her car.
SECTION 2 – WOMAN is at the back of her car, opening her trunk. Beside her is a white woman – RUDE – also loading groceries.
SECTION 3 – The white woman turns to WOMAN.
RUDE – …Nice Car.
SECTION 4 – WOMAN turns towards RUDE, and smiles.
WOMAN – Thank you! My husband bought it for me for mother’s day.
SECTION 5 – RUDE responds to WOMAN, angrily.
RUDE – If you call our tax dollars your husband’s “paycheck” then sure.
SECTION 6 – Text only
CAPTION – I was reminded that our town had some of the worst racists – closet racists who won’t say things to your face usually…but get a keyboard in front of these guys and it can get bad.
SECTION 7 – WOMAN is speechless, looking shocked.
CAPTION – But this lady, she was straight up racist to my face.
WOMAN – …
SECTION 8 – WOMAN laughs
CAPTION – I laughed
WOMAN – pfft!
SECTION 9 – WOMAN is laughing audibly
CAPTION – I work two jobs and life is crazy enough as it is.
WOMAN – Ha Ha Ha Ha!
SECTION 10 – Text only
CAPTION – If she thinks that Indigenous peoples are “taking advantage” of taxes and that my lifestyle is paid for (so much so that she feels obligated to tell me), I wasn’t going to let her bullshit stick to me.
SECTION 11 – WOMAN is smiling, and RUDE slams her car trunk.
WOMAN – No hun, I use your tax dollars to drink fine wine and play bingo!
SECTION 12 – RUDE drives away, and WOMAN looks on.
CAPTION – Another woman who observed all of this said that I handled myself well. I won’t be angry and I won’t give anyone ever the satisfaction of seeing me angry for this kind of behaviour.

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Not too long ago, I was loading my groceries into the back of my car and a middle aged woman smiled at me. I of course I smiled back and greeted her with a kind “hello!”

“Nice car”, she said.

“Thank you. My husband bought it for me for Mothers Day.”

What followed was incredibly vile, and full of darkness. I was reminded that my town has some of the worst racists – closet racists who won’t say things to your face usually… but get a keyboard in front of these guys and it can get bad.

But this this lady, she was straight up racist to my face.

“If you call our tax dollars your husband’s paycheck, then sure.”

I laughed out loud, and deliberately played along with her racist assumptions. If she thinks that natives are “taking advantage” of taxes and that my lifestyle is paid for (so much so that she feels obligated to tell me), I wasn’t going to let her bullshit stick to me. I work two jobs and life is crazy enough as it is.

“No hun, I use your tax dollars to drink fine wine and play bingo.”

The lady slammed her door so hard it nearly put her car door through the other side. She peeled out of the parking lot in a hurry.

Another woman who observed all of this said that I handled myself well. I won’t be angry and I won’t give anyone ever the satisfaction of seeing me angry for this kind of behaviour.

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Comments

1 response to “My Indigenous Heritage, Racism, and My Car”

  1. Branson says: |
    March 4, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Thanks for sharing this experience. That was a very level-headed response.
    Normally I’d say one could try to change minds with discourse, but facing such outright hatred as if it were a respectable opinion is difficult, and not one’s responsibility.