I have talked about a strange dynamic between me and Arab men. Some think I should be honored to be with an Arab man since my inferior African genes can get an upgrade a la mixed children. Some think this, but also think that I am not soo AFrican/black since I speak Arabic. It’s the equivalent of white people not saying your not black, black.
Something that has happened to me on more than one occasion is that Arab men, specifically older Arab men try to hit on me in the grocery store. Yes, the grocery store. I gave this preamble about racial dynamics because I think it’s pertinent in this context.
There’s a socio-economic hierarchy based on race and nationality here. I defy these paradigms because I am a black American woman who doesn’t necessarily look like a black American (whatever the eff that means). If I’m speaking ARabic, then I am a Sudanese woman. If not, then I am just African… ha ha.
If I am in the grocery store and bagging my own groceries because I don’t feel myself to high and mighty to do them myself… then I must be a maid…. see where I am going with this?
If I am a maid, then I must be easily swayed by cheap shit and flashy talk. Sigh.
Case in point, last Friday I went to the grocery store, wearing a brace on my wrist that I had injured exercising. (Gazelle is trying to get into shape, ya’ll but it’s not working 😦
I bagged my own groceries and pushed my own cart out into the parking lot, because I didn’t have a lot of stuff and figured I could load the car myself. This older, (Arab) guy who was behind me in the line catches up to me and asks if I need help. Now, because of how I had noticed him hovering near me in the store, I was afraid he was gonna try something. And he did not disappoint.
I smiled and said no, and he exclaimed, when he realized that I wasn’t gonna push the cart down the sidewalk (i.e. I wasn’t going to take the cart to my home, but rather to a car)”Oh you have car!??”
GAzelle is already annoyed at this point and so I just roll my eyes and say yes, and ignore him. Then once I reach my car he is still nearby and proceeds to declare that he is looking for someone who will “work with him.”
I give him a blank stare that says “WTF does that have to do with me?”
He then responds, sounding hurt and a bit offended, “You don’t want to work with me?”
I am so annoyed at this point that I blurt out with as much attitude as I can that I already have a job so I am not in the slightest bit interested in working with some damn stranger.
He finally takes the hint and walks away at some point, as I load my groceries.
I hate incidents like these. And no amount of white-washing will make me believe that it’s not tied to race. I get singled out because they assume that I am desperate and can be taken advantage of and men like this dude in the parking lot make me sick. I hate to just go to the stores that western ex-pats shop in. I like having access to things that make the local color of this city so vibrant. But the reality for me, as a black woman with African features, is that I have to dress the part.
Again, I am in a brooding introvert era in my life right now and out of fucks to give on Friday morning when I’m just trying to get my stuff before the after Friday prayer rush. But usually I make sure to hold my keys in way that they are visible and to wear jewelry. The keys so these predator men know I have my own car and therefore am not looking for a ride from strangers so need to even ask. The jewelry so they know I can buy my own gold and will not be wowed by H&M accessories. Blunt as this may sound, this has largely worked for me. But those days when I let my guard down… ish like this happens.
It’s not just old Arab men (although it happens with them quite bit, to me anyway). I have had brush-ins with older European men as well. But again, Gazelle is not looking for a sugar daddy. There are plenty of young women here paired up with super old men to let me know that there are many who willing to go that route, I wish these guys would not get their wires crossed.
I am not interested in whatever “work” that creepy guy at the grocery store was trying to employ me to do. I just want to be left alone. Sometimes dealing with these social dynamics that are fraught with this snap-second judgements based on your perceived nationality…. make me let out such loud sighs.