ah, the graveyard shift.
tonight was the end of my second weekend of waitressing at a small diner in a shopping center by my house. (an absolutely wonderful job, i love it.) up the street, there's a series of apartment complexes devoted solely to those living under the poverty level. as with most areas with this demographic, the population is mostly black, and almost all of the black customers we serve are from this community.
nights are in general pretty slow, with no more than six people in the diner at a time. when nine teenagers (one girl, eight guys) from green meadows (the apartments) walked in, i knew i was going to hear it from mike, the 41-year old cook. (it was only us, this restaraunt has only a bar and five booths.) before he could even make a crack, they started yelling at me, and i noticed a few "damned white bitch"es as i was walking away. racking up over $70 worth of food, these teens were rude and impatient, and mike and i were only given two pennies stuck to a plate as a tip. not to mention one of the guys left without paying his bill.
once he left, mike and another drunk started making cracks about how these "ghetto" kids were nothing but trouble, a few racist remarks, blah blah blah. how did i deal? i puked my provolone sticks and pink lemonade from before and smoked a cigarette until they shut up.
and what could i do to improve this situation? nothing. what did i gather from it? nine teenagers, raised to believe that people thought of them as shit, acted like shit. two adults, taught (and also learned through similar life experiences) that these teenagers were nothing but shit, thought of them as shit.
and me, unable to see past the prejudices these two groups held, because that's all they'd show me.