2008-06-29

Cheesecake Factory, Race, and Marriage


Today me and the husband went to lunch at the Cheesecake factory, they just opened up a new location nearby, and I love cheesecake, I was hungry, and there you go.

So we enter the restaurant, it is busy, but there appears to be virtually no wait. We go and place our name, they tell us to stay close and listen for our name, it should be just a moment. So we go sit down in the waiting area. We wait for about ten minutes and notice people who came in after us are getting seated immediately. We notice there is another group of three people, a mom, dad, and son, and they too are waiting for a while. They are black. The father notices this and goes up to the hostess desk to ask when they will get seated. My husband does the same. They claim they called our name and someone else took our spot, but we are sitting next to the hostess desk, no name was ever called, after I start asking them when did they call our name, a manager swiftly seats us and apologizes for the confusion. Considering that we are an IR couple where one of us is black, and the only other people waiting are black, and all the people seated immediately while we waited are white, I get a bit defensive. I get angry, and I quietly seethe, and I can't help but to think that my color had something to do with our delay in seating. Maybe I am sensitive, but I am angry none the less.

I express my frustration to my husband when our waitress neglects to give us our rye and sour dough bread. I don't even like the bread at Cheesecake Factory, but I am mad it wasn't even offered. He rationally explains it could have been an oversight, I question the oversight with a quickness, and a tense conversation about race happens at the Cheesecake Factory. He felt I over reacted, and that is wasn't racism. I was now very upset, and I told him, it must be nice to give people the benefit of the doubt, I can't always do that. He then tells me again I am over reacting, and then asks if I am upset or mad at him. I tell him the truth, I am hurt, and it scares me to know my husband can't be on my side and has no desire to stand up for his wife. Then I cut off the conversation and go silent. After about five minutes of silence, my husband asks me if I still love him, and tells me he loves me, and then says sorry. I still sit there quiet on the verge of tears. Frustrated and angry, and yes still loving my husband even though I felt abandoned by him.

I often times second guess such situations, and even if I don't think race right off the bat, it is always in the back of my head. I also think many times when I read up and discuss race so much on blogs and on the internet, it makes me uber sensitive. Maybe the hostess just overlooked us, maybe she intentionally did it, either or, I will never know her true intent. My husband wanted to give someone the benefit of the doubt, I didn't.

It is hard to handle such situations, and it probably doesn't help I posted the story about once again how horrible black people are despised to the point father in laws are willing to kill their black daughter in laws, and husbands are willing to defend their fathers and abandon their half black children. Or that I have posted about miscegenation laws of the United States, and how those laws, even though they no longer exist, affect IR relationships to this day. I sometimes read blogs and become bitter, realizing that black and white relations in this country are pretty much lost, and to find a man like my husband seems to be zero to none in this world, as it is appears white men are too keen to keep their race pure and hold prejudices and stereotypes close to their heart. It doesn't help, that I am starting to think a lot of black men feel that black women aren't worth the time or effort to love and embrace. That as a black woman, I am pretty much alone, even with my husband there I am alone, and he can't completely understand my point of view because his experiences as a white male are different than mine as a black woman.

How do I learn to "move on" and not seethe? How do I learn to give people the benefit of the doubt? Should I even bother to give people the benefit of the doubt? Is it wrong to expect my husband to take my side, even if he doesn't agree, or questions my anger? Will he always give the benefit of the doubt, or ever see the racism I see?