The man in front of me seemed pleasant enough. He was polite to the cashier, a middle aged white woman. The gentleman bagging was moving rather slowly. He had to be about 70 years old and by all rights should have been lounging around his home playing with his grandchildren but we won't get into my feelings about how our elderly are being treated (well maybe we will in another entry now that I think of it).
The man in front of me made a big show of tapping his fingers on the little check writing counter and giving these deep sighs. When it came time for some unbagged fruit he had bought to be bagged up, he stopped the bagger, saying "do NOT touch that" and he grabbed the fruit and put it into a bag. The old man said nothing, didn't even look up.
When all the stuff was bagged, the man asked the lovely customer if he needed help out. The man gave a snide laugh and said "I don't have that kind of time. I'll do it myself." As he passed by the old man, I heard him say under his breath, "Stupid old ni****" I was stunned and the cashier stood there with her mouth open.
I looked up at the old man, feeling like I should apologize for the jackass who had just left. He was standing there, head down, tears dripping down onto the plastic bags. My urge to kill became red hot. I paid for my cheese, said "I'm so darn sorry for that, sir" to the bagger. He laid his hand over mine on the counter and said "it's not your fault honey." I practically ran outside searching for that man. I saw him two lanes over, putting his groceries away. I knew I had to control myself or I was going to end up in jail because what I wanted to do was go over and punch him in the face, which is totally unlike me. But he had committed two sins in my eyes. He was a racist and he picked on an old person, a group of people I have a soft spot for.
I ran over to him and said "sir, I was behind you in the line in there."
He said "yeah, I saw you. Can I help you with something?"
I couldn't control my mouth. I just said "yes you can. You can cease going out in public and embarrassing everybody in the world with white skin with your disgusting shows of bigotry. You and people like you make me sick to my stomach. That old man in there that you said that nasty word to is worth fifty of you. Do the world a favor and crawl back under whatever rock you came out from and just stay there."
I then turned around and walked away, shaking like a leaf. Other than my anger making me shake, I had just openly confronted a large man, something I am still not great at, though in all gratitude to Russell, I can say that without his respectful way of treating me, I never could have done that today. I heard him laugh and say "stupid cu**". I just kept walking back to my car
Did I change anything today? No, I know I didn't. But maybe, just maybe, that is one man, who while he will feel the same, will be less openly hurtful with it. Plus, please God, maybe that old gentleman can know that not everyone is like that.
Right now... i'm ashamed of my skin color.