July 22, 2009 § 2 Comments
As I took a walk around my neighborhood this afternoon while talking on the phone with AT, I passed a group of teenage boys riding their bikes on the street going in the opposite direction [on the wrong side of the street, might I add]. There were more then ten of them, and they looked to be around 16 or 17. I ignored them and continued my phone conversation, but through my dialogue I heard those infamous words of mockery.
“Ching chong ching chong!” and a couple of chuckles.
“Fuck off,” I breathed into the phone as my eyes widened in disbelief.
[“Are you driving?” AT asked me.]
A sort of shocked fury rose within me as my mind searched for a proper reaction. I looked back at the group of guys, and the one closest to me, the only African-American one, was the only one looking back.
Really? I thought. I was reminded of one time when I was walking in downtown Chicago. As I passed a black boy [probably around 12 years old] he said those same words to me. I had raised my eyebrow at him and kept walking. It also brought to mind this incident, posted on Facebook by a Chinese-American friend of mine:
Of course, black people are not the only ones who provoke. I have heard stories about my friends getting into altercations with white girls, although those usually involve straight-up racial slurs instead of sidelong insults.
In the end, I responded only by venting to AT. What was I supposed to do? [“Go back to Africa, jackass!”?] I wanted to beat the shit out of him. Seriously, it’s 2009. We’re in a thriving suburb of Chicago, not some ignorant backwoods town still stuck in the 50s. My high school had at least 100 Asian-American students, which is to say that there is no reason for anybody to think that this kind of behavior is appropriate.
So I am not sure how to deal with this situation. Last week at small group we learned about forgiveness. We didn’t get much deeper than talking about road rage, and I didn’t imagine that I would have to apply the lesson to something like this. But as I walked home, I knew that I had to forgive that person for his ignorance. I suppose I can console myself with Romans 12:19.