This is going to be a very personal story everyone.
I never intended to write it, because who could predict what I was exposed to last night?
I think the tragedy of the situation, is that it unfolded at an establishment that has become my second home.
There is very few places where I am more comfortable, and accepted.
I call it my second home because that is where my New Haven family congregates.
This is the place where everyone knows my name.
The staff that runs the restuarant is my family, the people that regularly attend are my siblings.
Everytime I go to this wonderful bar, it’s hugs, kisses, and love all the way around.
This is my fu%king spot, and last night, it was invaded by an unsavory, unsophisticated cavewoman who proceeded to transport me and my family back to the reconstruction.
Let me provide the details, the following narrative may not be suitable for children.
After having a wonderful dinner, I met up with my homeboy Rock at our bar, and seeing as he has been out of town for most of the week, I sat down with him, and caught up on pressing matters that face us both.
After a beer, and some laughs, 2 of my other boys joined us, and the night seemed to be on to a fantastic start.
We were aruging about boxing, women, it was awesome.
I excused myself from the table to go grab some more booze from the bar.
When I arrived at the bar, one of my really good friends was speaking with a woman, and they seemed to be vibing, so I kept to myself, and ordered my drink.
At that moment, I noticed the woman that was talking to my friend was pointing at me, and it was awkward because she was only 3 feet away from me, and I was not looking directly at her.
Think of the scene from Jurassic park, where the Dr. Alan Grant, and Dr. Ellie Sattler sees a dinosaur for the first time.
This is exactly how this woman acted when she saw me.
She was was in complete amazement, and it made me feel like a monster.
This went on for at least 45 seconds, but I ignored her, I told myself “no way this woman is pointing at me like I am a museum exhibit in the middle of a bar”
Alas, I was wrong.
She was pointing at me in astonishment.
She abrutly stops talking to my friend, walks around his barstool, and puts her chest against my rib cage.
The subsequent conversation is difficult to believe.
Sushi: Hi, is everything ok?
Woman: I am just amazed by how tall and colored you are!
Woman: Yes you are so colored and tall ! I didn’t know colored men could be so beautiful!
Sushi: What? What did you just say?? and if you will excuse me, who are you again?
Racist Woman: You are though?! Colored people get all of the height! You are an beautiful looking colored man.
Sushi: Well actually, I played professional basketball in Finland, and most of my scandinavian teammates were taller than me….
Woman: No no no, colored people get all the height, and i am so jealous! Colored people get everything! But like i said, you are an amazing looking colored man.
Sushi: What do you mean by colored?
Woman: Colored, like you! (laughs)
At this point, I was over it and my beer was ready, so I turned away from the woman who was still gushing over my colored features.
My dear friend who she had been talking to was in shock, he is Puerto Rican, a minority like me.
He also is socially one of the smartest men in the city, and the look of horror on his face only made me angrier.
You have to understand, referring to an African American as a colored is tantamount to calling me a nigger.
Colored is how African Americans were referred too during the slave trade all the way through to the Civil Rights movement, and beyond.
It’s an ugly, archaic, racist term that makes direct reference to a time in this country where African Americans counted as 2/3 of a person.
This bigot generalized my entire race, and somehow rationalized that “colored” people are the only tall human beings on the planet.
She made these statements with zero restraint in a conversational tone.
The woman was still talking about my skin color when one of the bartenders noticed the look on my face.
That bartenders name is Nicole, and she is the hero of this story.
Nicole is beloved by everyone, a kind gentle soul.
Salt of the earth.
She always takes the time to listen to everyone, and this circumstance would be no different.
I recanted the events of the last 5 minutes to her, and the look on Nicole’s face could have scrambled eggs.
The shock that I felt, that my friend felt, hit Nicole like a ton of bricks.
You have to understand, Trinity is among the more tolerant places in America, people from all over the world frequent the establishment everyday.
This is not the type of place where overt racism is welcome in any circumstance, let alone when it involves members of the family.
Nicole did not sit on her hands, she did not pass the buck, she took action.
In that moment, I was the one who was amazed.
Because Nicole didn’t have to do anything, she could have told me to ignore this disgusting bigot, and crack on with my boys.
But she didn’t do that, Nicole stood up.
As it turns out, the woman in question was with a large amount of people.
A rugby team.
Trinity has relationships all over the city, among them, is a pretty cool arrangement they have with the local rugby club.
The team comes in after practice, or games, eats, drinks, and hangs out.
Trinity sponsors them I believe, so over the course of time, I have gotten to know some of these people.
I found them to be a wonderful group of citizens before last night, some of them even talk to me about the game of rugby (rules etc) because of my time as a sportswriter.
I have even discussed sending out one of our reporters to cover the team.
Nicole went straight to the coaches of the squad, and explained to them what had happened, and why such behavior was not acceptable at Trinity.
By this time, I had been joined by all of my friends, and we watched Nicole lay into the organizers.
I was upset, so I decided to step outside and get some fresh air.
A couple minutes later, Nicole emerged into the frosty Connecticut night with a beer in her hand.
She informed us of several things
- This girl has a problem with racism, she evidently makes similar remarks to some of her own teammates.
- The team members were mortified by her behavior
- The team members sent me a beer to demonstrate that they did not wish to be associated with this person, or her actions
- The girl left the bar 5 min after Nicole spoke with team organizers, more than likely, she felt the heat that was starting to surround her
I wrote yesterdsay that history has shown that bigots are cowards, and last night proved that point to a tee.
As oppose to apologizing, this walking POS scurried out of the bar.
In retrospect, I could not have more respect for Nicole.
I already loved her to death, but my feelings went to the next level last night.
She stood up for me, she refused to accept intolerance, and she took time out of her shift to make ME feel better, and more welcome.
I will be forwarding Nicole a symbol of my appreciation later today.
But I will say something.
I didn’t totally respect the way the rugby team handled it.
If someone in your crew steps out of line to that degree, and offends multiple people, you don’t brush it off with a beer.
You walk your ass over to the person who was offended, and you address them directly.
You don’t run from it, you don’t hide from it.
And why would they associate with someone who runs around a bar in 2016 gushing over African American men with such a lack of civility?
The beer was a nice gesture, but the proceeding event commands more than that, that’s my opinon.
Nicole should not have to answer for the actions of the unjust, because this was a social injustice.
I should not have to deal with that when I am out with friends.
The leaders of the team, who have a direct relationship with the bar, should have made a point of coming over to me, shaking my hand, and distancing themselves from this bigot.
They didn’t do that, they carried on like nothing had happened.
I had a problem with that, but chose to focus on my friends, and wait until the next day to voice my frustration.
Which is the reason I am visiting with Tastie Fish this morning.
I had previously learned that everytime someone purchases a PBR at Trinity, some type of donation is apportioned to the rugby club,
Some the athletes on the team have thanked me in the past for buying PBR, and explained why.
As my close friends will tell you, that happens to be my favorite beer, in fact, I rarely buy anything else when I go to Trinity.
It’s to the point, that the bartenders don’t even ask me what I want, they know, sometimes, they grab it when they see me walking in, which only adds to the family atmosphere.
So in light of what happened last night, I hereby will refuse to purchase PBR’s at Trinity until the rugby team either apologizes, or kicks this woman out of the club.
This situation was disrespectful to me, the bar, and all people who refuse to accept intolerance.
I happen to have a good amount of friends in this city believe it or not, so I would imagine my beer rebellion will draw comrades, and together, we will refuse to do anything to contribute to an organization where that type of BS goes on.
From now on, I will drink narragansett.
And to Nicole.
My champion, my hero, Americans like you give me hope for the future in these very dark times.
We live in a time, in which certain people in this country are totally comfortable discriminating against others because they believe that the new President gives them the right to do so.
The only way to fix this problem, is too out these people.
For years they have hidden in the shadows, and now that they feel so comfortable stepping into the sunlight, we must expose them at all junctures, all points in time in which they cross the line.
Which is what I have decided to do this morning.
I refuse to contribute 10 cents to the local rugby club until further notice, and they can forget about my company sending out a reporter and a photographer anytime soon.
Not until I see some form of action.
As my company’s influence in this city grows, and our relationships expand, I have serious doubts this event will be forgotten anytime soon.