Friday, July 10, 2009

Ebony and Ivory

It seems that I got unofficially profiled or stereotyped yesterday, and it was unusual.
Walker Evans and I were proceeding down Summer Street between Norwood and Ashland avenues Thursday; as usual, Walker stopped to sniff and mark something. I looked back and saw a man coming our way on the sidewalk at a pace that I knew he would pass us soon, and he did. Walker stopped again a few yards later and the man went up on the grass to give us a wide berth.
We caught up with him at the corner of Summer and Ashland as he waited for a car to clear the corner; the man was African American, age 40-50 with long dreadlocks and blue clothing with a logo on the shirt; nothing unusual for our neighborhood and I assumed he was either going to or coming from work. I describe him for a reason in a moment.
As Walker and I came up to the corner, he looked at us, got this look of fear in hie eyes and crossed Summer Street, heading in the same direction toward Elmwood Avenue. About half a block later, he crossed back just ahead of us.
As he came up off the street, he looked at me and said, "Oh, no, no, no. I bet you don't know why I crossed the street. You look like Rush Limbaugh, no, no, no." I shook my head, laughed and said that that assessment was as far from the truth as possible (for a liberal Democrat such as myself). He again said, "Oh, no, no, no, you do look like him" and walked away.
Regardless of political affiliation, at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, shaved head and black glasses, I still can't figure out the similarity in appearance between myself and the uninformed, pill popping right-wing nut job radio show host, except for skin color. Hmm.


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