At the expense of your dignity

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Last Friday (Sept. 26) a friend invited me out to The Back Alley for a beer. I’m a Master’s student, in Applied Psychology, and I just moved here from Victoria last month. Besides the snow in September, Calgary wasn’t bad at all.

As I walked past the pick-up trucks with the Micky-T super swampers, I was feeling a bit anxious. Not because I’m a social recluse or a bookworm that never leaves his office, but because I’m black. I’m a big, black guy–6ïz´7, 350 pounds.. Some may ask, "What’s a black guy doing at The Back Alley?" I would ask, "Why can’t a Black guy go to the Back Alley?"

I walk in and before I can pay cover or show my ID, the doorman asks me: "What are you doing here? Big coloured fella like yourself." He unhooks the red velvet rope, and lets me pass. "Walk straight ahead, cover is five bucks." So I smiled to ease his racism, laughed and asked "Why? Will I be the only one of ‘me’ in there?"

He ended up letting me in as a guest. Maybe because he thought I would never come back or maybe he quickly replayed the tape in his head and thought, "Maybe I shouldn’t have said that." Strangely enough what bothers me most about the experience, is to ease his discomfort with his racism, I laughed and joked about his racist remarks, at the expense of my own dignity.

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