Today, an elderly man, a self-proclaimed "Hungarian Jew", dressed in head-to-toe L.A. Laker gear, the largest headphones I've ever seen, and toting two testy Pomeranians, stopped me in front of the Post Office to discuss politics. **Crickets**
As one who has a very soft spot for senior citizens, I reluctantly engaged in this unsolicited conversation. He began by asking me my thoughts on Gerri Ferraro's comments about Senator Obama's perceived racial advantage. He seemed to want me to be as outraged as he portrayed himself to be. In no uncertain terms, he felt Ms. Ferraro was wrong in her assessment. I simply told him that I believe she spoke from her own insecurities about gender and power, at which he nodded, and then commented on how insightful I was. He then goes on to tell me how unlike most folks like him, he understands "the black experience", having family members who were victims of Nazi Germany, and having once lived on 35Th and "Shaw" when he was a car salesman. I asked him to clarify "Shaw" for me, at which time I learned that he was speaking of Crenshaw Boulevard, "you know, the HOOD." Deep sigh. More **Crickets**
He then jumps to the subject of Michelle Obama, and gets a little boiled over her comments about her first time being proud of the country, yada yada, yada. He goes on about how she has benefited from Affirmative Action and how she, herself, supposedly admitted to having been an average student (I don't know anything about this) and that she was able to obtain an Ivy League education because of Affirmative Action, and he had a 4.0 GPA and didn't get "ushered" in like her, so how dare she yada, yada, yada.
He also pointed out how much money she and Barack were making, which to me had no place in our, I mean , HIS conversation. I finally told him, that Michelle's comments, while perhaps not properly delivered, were very relevant, and I understood EXACTLY what she meant. He wanted to know how I could agree when she has benefited so greatly in this country. So........I informed him that he never has, nor ever will live her American life, and that I, being closer to her in age than he was (obviously), equal to her in gender, similar to her in the "black womanhood experience", AND the South Side of Chicago experience, could better identify with her statement. Again he expressed his delight in my insight, then told me I was a smart girl. Surprise! I politely excused myself, told him to (kick rocks) have a nice day and continued on about my business.
Everything happens for a reason. Respect your elders.