Europe and the black-white game

An African-American discovers to her surprise that, unlike Americans, Europeans aren’t afraid of blacks:

I was going to the movies with a friend of mine from Yale who is black also. And there was a long line. And we were like, let’s jump the line. These white people, they’re going to be scared of us. We’ll just go and jump the line. We’ll get to the front of the line. So, of course, you know, we walked up to the front of the line, like, yeah, you want to try me? I’m black. That usually works in New York.

These people were ready to rip our hair out. And they were white. I couldn’t believe it. And they were like, in French, what are you doing? The line starts back there. You can’t just walk to the front of the line. They were, like, ready to kick our butts. I was shocked. I’m like, these are white people, and they’re not scared of us?

That’s when I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. And I liked it. I mean, of course, it was kind of humiliating, because you know, we’re supposed to be the intimidating, scary ones. And then all these French bitches in high heels were threatening us. And they were in our faces. And it made me realize that the whole black-white game just doesn’t work outside of the United States.

Because white people aren’t afraid of you here. And at the same time, they don’t hate you, because that sort of goes together. So I’ll take it. I’ll wait on line. Now I don’t dare jump lines. So that opened my eyes.

It’s true, Europeans, especially Continentals, are much less inclined to kowtow to Africans than Americans are. This may be helpful in understanding an aspect of the divergence of my position from that of the white progressive non-athletes. It’s not that I hate blacks, it’s more that I’m not afraid of them and therefore don’t treat them like ticking time bombs. It’s not just that I’m a continental European myself these days either, because I’ve been burning black guy’s asses, talking smack with them, and forcing them back down since I was an 11th grade 100-meter sprinter competing in the city district against sprinters from Minneapolis North, Minneapolis South, Washburn, Edison, and Southwest.

If you know anything about men’s athletics, you’ll know that sprinters are the arrogant prima donnas of the sports world. Once you’ve faced down a big old branded Omega or a strutting member of the Disciples who is trying to intimidate everybody during warmups, calling out an overweight, overrated black woman with a big mouth is not exactly a challenge. The greater part of the black intimidation routine is nothing more than a front to mask deep insecurity. The whole performance, the eye-rolling, the neck-bobbing, the implied threats of violence, and the posturing, tends to fall completely apart when met with a sneer and a sarcastic word.

At one meet my senior year, there was a particularly unpleasant fellow who was getting in my face in the area behind the blocks while we were waiting for the race because I was the only non-black sprinter in the finals. He was going on about “white boy” this and “faggot” that and so forth. I didn’t say anything, I just reached into my bag and handed him a banana. (We always kept a few around to fight leg cramps). He looked at me in total disbelief, at which point I said: “You’ve been pounding your chest so much, I figured you’d probably want one of these.”

The other six guys just about sprained something laughing.