I understand that most black barbers cringe at the thought of cutting white man’s hair and the reverse with white barbers too. Chances are this barber is relieved that he knows you are coming in for a shave only. The waiting customers are probably glad as well.
I think you could expect some comments and conversation after you leave, most of it centered upon why you choose to be there to begin with. Perhaps they guess you must believe black folks are especially skilled with razors. Remember, racial comments don’t need to be racist.
When I visited New Orleans for the first time back in 1993, I assumed the stories about the South having really good BBQ and black people making the best BBQ was a given. So my friend and I decided to drive to the 9th Ward area of town and there was not a white person in sight except us. We saw a BBQ place with a line of black folks out the door getting “to go” orders and decided that was the place to eat. So we walked in and sat down at a table, and the waitresses literally ignored us. It was not bad service because all the other tables with black diners were being served by the black waitstaff, but we were clearly not welcome. We found another place down the road that was just average, but I REALLY wanted the food from the one with the line
As a white person who most of his life has had black friends, it does take a bit to get them to warm up to you IF you come in as a stranger.
If I go with a black friend to an all black event, they accept you immediately and they are usually a lot friendly than white people.
People are people and they want you to like them for WHO they are, not because of their color. Sometimes people may get the feeling your “slumming”
One thing I’ve run across a lot is if I’m with a black woman. I’m a gay white male. I have heard black males say “That’s why we can’t get a woman, all the sisters are with white guys.” Like anything people need to know you.
As for your haircut, go there if you like the way they cut your hair. Also remember when someone or someone of some kind comes into a business, that isn’t the kind of customer they are used to, people get suspicious.
Like I’ve worked in a store and you could ALWAYS tell the professional shoppers. You know people who the store hires to check to see your doing the sales and checkout pitches and speeches correctly.
They could be thinking, this white guy might be coming in to report to the owner or something along those lines.
DUDE! You let Black guys near your throat with a straight razor?!?!
I only ever really got that “Thanks for leaving” feeling when I was living in Savannah, GA. But then, the service wasn’t exactly friendly if there was a significant color gradient. A couple times a year I find myself in an Asian grocery store, but the feeling I get is that the owner is amazed I know anything about his inventory as opposed to being happy I’m on my way out of his store. But then, the racism might feel different between Whites/Blacks and Whites/Asians.
As a white guy in Japan I’ve often thought that this must be something like it feels to be a black guy in a white community in the States. Maybe not as bad in some ways, but worse in others. For example its pretty easy for people to discriminate against me and, if they do, then there is no quick fix legal recourse for me, and no way of publicly shaming them for doing so - so they have no disincentive not to discriminate.
I’ve been told as soon as I walk into a car rental place that, no I wouldn’t be getting a car from them. They don’t have any cars (a Toyota car rental shop has no cars!). I hadn’t even told them when I wanted to book the rental yet. Mothers that let their kids play in the street where traffic runs yell out and gather their children to come play among the broken glass at the side of the street when they see me coming. Being in the broken glass is apparently safer than being near me.
Its been very educational, as in my home country I’ve never had the chance to have been discriminated against, so now I think I have a better understanding of what it must be like.
We had that kind of experience at a new Chinese restaurant that opened up near us - the same lousy service, why don’t you people take your business somewhere else kind of feeling. It looked like it was more authentic Chinese food than most Chinese restaurants here, but we won’t be going back to try any more of it.
I don’t go through it “all the time” because I tend to be oblivious to what others are or are not thinking about me. Certain women will say they can walk into a room and tell that everyone is jealous/hates them/loves them after just a few minutes. I call bullshit on their accuracy, but there are women who at least feel this way.
The only time I regularly get a little self-conscious in a racial way is when I’m meeting people for the first time, after having communicated to them on the phone or through email. Like for job interviews. I had one on the phone and then had to show up in person for the second round. I was a little nervous that I wasn’t quite what the corporate folks were expecting when I got off the plane…and that it would show in how they related to me. It didn’t, but I didn’t get the job either. But how would I possibly know that my race was what “did me in”? There is no way.
I have to meet with my real estate agent for the first time next week. We’ve been talking on the phone and via email for the last three weeks, looking at parcels of land through Google Earth and other tools. So far we have good report, but I’m a bit worried how she’ll react when she sees me. Maybe she won’t take me as seriously…or she’ll steer me to areas where I don’t want to go. Or maybe she’ll like me just fine and I’m just being paranoid. But not all paranoia is irrational, you know? Sometimes it is, but sometimes people really don’t like you and you’re forced to ride the donkey until you can find a good jumping off point. 'Tis life.
There are different experiences. One is where you fit in naturally, where you’re not of the cultural/ethnic/language group and it’s good but not completely natural, and one where you are unconfortable and/or don’t fit in. It’s often hard to tell when you’re in group two or in group three.
I’m a white guy who has lived his whole life in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have rarely had the feeling of being unwanted anywhere due to my race. For example, I was once in a fish restaurant in Oakland when everyone in the place was black except me. There was a football game on TV that I was pretty much ignoring, but when the favored team scored a touchdown and the place erupted in cheers, one of the guys came over to give me a high five. I have been in all kinds of ethnic businesses, and can’t remember ever being treated in a way that made me uncomfortable.
Most of the few times anyone has made me uncomfortable about race have happened while I was riding the bus. One time I was taking the bus to work and there was a black guy across the aisle from me who was expressing his opinion about everything in the world in a very loud voice. He was a real motormouth, and I was trying my best to ignore him. Suddenly he turned, looked directly at me and said, “And I don’t like white folks!” This embarassed the elderly black man who was sitting on the other side of me - he whispered in my ear, “Some people are fools.”
I’m East Asian, and I’ve lived in the US for a long time. It is extremely rare that I feel unwelcome at a business, although I would say it has happened a couple times. However, while travelling through rural areas that are, shall we say, less cosmopolitan, I can’t help but feel being stared at sometimes.
There’s a hole-in-the-wall Pakistani take-away place near where I live. Their food is truly awesome, not the watered-down stuff that one usually finds in the US. I’ve never seen any other non-South Asian customers at that place, and I do feel a little self-conscious going there. But they are always very friendly, and the food is very tasty, so I’m sure it’s all in my head.
At the risk of hijacking the thread, where in Japan are you? In Aomori City, I am rarely discriminated against. After 6 months I can only recall one distinct time I’ve been the target of ‘omg gaijin’ prejudice.
I did live by a navy base once, and there I got the impression that foreigners were highly disliked. I know discrimination does happen, so please don’t get the impression that I’m arguing with you.
I’m in Osaka. I’ve lived in Kansai (Osaka and Kobe) for coming on 14 years. I realize everyone’s experience is different from mine and I also think there are regional differences in Japan too, adding to the difficulty in saying anything ‘universal’ about Japan, just like it might be incorrect to say anything universal about the people from USA. For example, I find Tokyo people to be less discriminatory, and my theory is that it’s because most of them are not born in Tokyo themselves (they come from outlying rural townships for work) and are thus just playing the role of ‘Big City’ people - i.e, they’re uncomfortable themselves. But this itself is just a generalization, and doesn’t hold true on a person to person experience.
In Osaka, most (not all, of course) people you meet are going to be born in Kansai. Kansai is a prosperous area, and the people that were born there have pride in their shusei (place of birth), and do not feel inferior in any way to people from Tokyo. They’re also not very internationally minded, because Kansai has been a prosperous business hub of Japan for centuries, and they can do just fine without any foreign influence, thank you very much. Despite its size (geographically and financially) there are no foreign international law firms, stockbroking houses, and very few foreign multinational companies with a presence, in Kansai. On the other hand, there are some major Japanese companies headquartered in Kansai (and close by) such as Toyota (Nagoya), Nintendo (Kyoto) and Panasonic (Osaka), all of which I work with.
For the record, I don’t consider an OMG gaijin reaction to be indicative of prejudice. It’s just a shock, which I can understand and empathize with - they’re not used to seeing white/black people in the street, or right up in their face at the office. No problem, I’ll make a joke and we’ll laugh.
But let me tell you something interesting. If I’m out in public with my wife or some other Japanese (or Japanese-looking) friend then I don’t get any negative reactions, ever. If I’m out by myself (i.e. going to work or just shopping), I get frequent grief. I’ve been yelled at, spat at and generally avoided or shunned.
I once amazed a friend of mine by accurately predicting what people in the street would do as we walked past them. "This one will shift her handbag on to the other shoulder away from us, this one will stare at the opposite side of the road as we walk by, this one will raise her arm as if she’s brushing her hair away, his one will make a tooth sucking sound as we pass, “this one will call to her kids to quickly come to her when we get near.”
The time I felt this most strongly was when I was sent to a work conference that was held on the grounds of Gallaudet University. I and my hearing colleagues got the distinct message that we were not welcome. Twice we tried to go into common areas of the University for food or drinks, only to be told that the service area was “closed”…despite there being scads of Deaf customers in the place at the time. The message was that they really, really despised us and saw us as an intrusion.
I work in news and as such I have the opportunity to interact with tons of strangers under a myriad of situations and have observed the following:
Anyone will hate anyone else for any reason.
Minorities will hate other groups of people, without a hint of self conciousness, at any time.
This is not a broad brush here - not all people are afflicted by this, but I am saying no group of people is immune to the problem. I have met plenty of folks who can deal with individuals of another ethnic group with dignity, grace and consideration, yet still have a problem with that group as a whole. AKA racist beliefs that do not come into play on the personal level.
I would love to say education is a mitagator, but it is not.
However, I am pleased to say that many times when I expect a negative behavior I am pleasently surprised to be wrong. I have often said that one of the best best parts of my job is watching my own prejudices come crashing down.
My wife & I have been treated poorly in some places we didn’t expect to (I’m talking about you, Salvadoran restaurant in Frederick, MD), and I have been blown away by friendliness & service in soul food joints in the worst areas of Washington, DC, where I felt my presence was a sign that I was showing the owners & neighborhood respect by patronizing them.
But yeah, ultimately hate is pretty universal, and because of it I certainly do not suffer from any form of white guilt over any subject…