The America's Cup is finally over. After what felt like a miniature lifetime of preparation, execution, and arguments, New Zealand won a race that most of us had never even heard of before and Bermuda put on one helluva show.
One thing about that AC Village towards the end - she was UNBEARABLY HOT AND RAMMED. There was nary a seat to be found because I don’t get nowhere early. (Me: How do I get a seat in this lounge today? Bartender: Go back in time and be here at 1030. #oh)
On the Saturday finals, just as my family was about to give up and plop down on the steaming ground, beanbag-less, we found a cement ledge on the back of the media tent, space enough for three butts. WINNING!!!! Praise be to Jah. *pours out libations* We perched there and throughout the day, friends came and joined our little area, laying on the grass or standing and dancing around.
At one point in the early evening, most of us wandered away to get food and drinks, leaving our stuff strewn about and two people to hold claim to our concrete kingdom.
When I returned, there was a random white girl sitting on the ledge and my friend soon informs me, wide-eyed, that the girl refuses to move, and that her crew had been very rude when she’d told them the spot was taken. The girl overhears and says loudly in a strong Kiwi accent, ‘I’m going to sit here and eat my sandwich, and you can all fuck off.”
There's a heartbeat of silence while I absorb what's happening.
I yell out 'WHOA!!' like I’m riding a damn runaway mustang. ‘That is really unnecessary. We have been sitting here all day, and she was just letting you know we were coming back.’
Kiwi: ‘I’ll get up when I’m done, and okay yeah if your baby comes back, but I’m staying here til then’.
My friend says, ‘(to her) Okay yeah, that’s fine… I don’t have a problem with that. (to me) I was just telling them my husband and baby were coming back and he *points at a white guy sitting beside another white girl on a nearby step* said, ‘We don’t give a fuck about you or your baby.’
Kiwi (yells over my friend): ‘This is all because of your Bermudian mentality.’
Me *SCREAMS WHOA AGAIN* ‘Did you just say Bermudian mentality???!!’
Kiwi’s other white friend: ‘She’s not wrong.’
At this stage I’m in a state of confused shock and horror. I’m trying to formulate what to say or do next – always semi-conscious that I’m a somewhat public figure. (Damn you fame that isn't even real!! )
Do I smack the fucking sandwich out of her hand? That could escalate quickly. Do I take my rosé and hit her over the head? No, that cost me sixty bucks.
I get up and stand in front of the girl nonchalantly chewing her damn meat sandwich and repeat over and over how her comments are completely uncalled for. The guy comes over to mansplain (calm down ladies) slash whitesplain and I state the obvious, that his friend saying ‘Bermudian mentality’ was offensive, and that we are very angry, just in case the beads of sweat on my knitted brow did not clearly express this. I tell him that not once did we mention the fact that perhaps them squatting in our spot was a sign of THEIR (aka white) mentality. (EVEN THOUGH THAT’S TRUE AS FUCK!! If you don't believe me ask Pocahontas.)
In other words, we are using calm logic and reason, instead of HITTING THEM OVER THE HEAD WITH A BOTTLE.
Meanwhile, more of our crew returns, including my friend’s baby and her husband. True to her slightly-slurred word, the white girl gets up and moves to the step with her friends. We are telling our tribe about what went down, gesturing wildly, overcome with emotion. People are yelling, ‘Huh? They said what? Which one?’ My friend’s husband is about to yell out ‘WE RIDE!!!’ and mount a posse. The Kiwi Trio is watching it all unfold, seeing new people come by and learn about their fuckery.
It’s quite the scene and then suddenly, drained by all the heat, we just stop. My husband finally comes back confused - his daughter had been texting him that something was happening. He has wings so we all eat them because we're black (well some of us) and chicken makes things better.
Then, appearing out of fucking nowhere (as they do) is the Kiwi girl. She walks up to my friend, who now has her baby strapped to her, and begins crying with a stream of babbling. ‘I just want to apologise I’m so sorry your baby is so beautiful I’m so sorry We went to five spots and no one would let us sit It’s so hot we were so tired It was the last straw I drank a bit too much oh my god he’s so beautiful.’
Then fellow comes over ‘I can’t believe how insensitive I was I’m so sorry We feel so awful I truly can’t believe we said those things It’s not like us at all.’
I stress (far too calmly) that these are not excuses. We too had looked for a seat for a long time, and many people told us spots were taken. I AGAIN state what should be the obvious, that telling others a space is taken is not unreasonable nor is it some 'savage' Bermudian behavior. (Although in hindsight it is maybe a learned black behaviour from handed-down knowledge called ‘shit we should have said some 400 years ago’).
They are nodding along forlornly and the girl is a snotty mess. [BYE.] My friend, who has been verbally assaulted by this very person, who is cradling the baby they said they don't give a fuck about, reaches over and gives her a hug, tells them to stop drinking, and that it’s all ok. Kiwi girl gives a pathetic sad smile, wipes her face and their little group disappears into the crowds.
Let’s just review this all too common ‘Entitlement/Whitelash/White Tears/Black Comfort’ cycle that generally takes a few decades (or centuries) to complete, but on this surreal slash all-too-real day took place within less than one hour.
ENTITLEMENT: This is ours. Even though you had it first. #smugface
WHITELASH: WHAATTTT???!!!!! You are telling me you had it first??!! I’m wrong??!! THAT’S NOT FAIR!! IT’S MINE MINE MINE and I’M RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT!! *stomps feet and kills people and/or vibes*
WHITE TEARS: Okay… Darn. I think I might be sorry. SNIFF SNIFF.
BLACK COMFORT: (gets coddled by their victim and dries tears) WHEW glad that’s over!
Repeat Ad Infinitum.
Since telling friends this story, some have suggested that I should have either stabbed them (but blood #allthenopes), or at least taken out my cell phone to film the happenings, which definitely would've required far more strategic thinking than I had (see rosé above). Others have said that oft-repeated line that 'clearly they knew who they could mess with'. Probably. I wouldn't be at all surprised if word has reached even the white New Zealand tourist community that Kristin Aline White residing at Wellington is no good with confrontation. Secret memos have likely been sent via boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Marmite bottle lids and 'Friends' DVD sets.
But unlike other incidents where I've had regret, dreaming about what I SHOULD have said, crafting a whole clapback that took place in an alternative universe where I shut the damn thing down, (#jerkstore #seinfeld) in this case *shrugs*I honestly don't care.
Because how many times, HOW MANY TIMES do I have to explain to white people how their behavior is offensive? *waits for answer* I posted on Facebook the other day that I'm no longer explaining racism to white people. Inevitably, I got a few folks saying 'don't stop planting seeds' 'thank you for taking the time' 'you never know when change will come'.
But um. No. Over it.
BEYOND over this never-ending cycle where I am offended and irritated and frustrated and then somehow end up apologizing and comforting others... HUH? WHERE THEY DO THAT AT??
Afterwards, I found out that the white guy was in fact Bermudian (a different type I guess without the 'mentality' SIDE EYE). And after watching a video where Kiwi America's Cup visitors were going on about how much they love Bermudians, I have to figure that this particular Kiwi didn't because SOMEONE had advised her not to. Someone told her how we (black Bermudians) are just ruining life for everyone for no reason, not letting them sit where they want to, and complaining that our schools are moldy when all they wanna do is watch sailing.
So yeah, my last fuck about white nonsense lies just on the side of a small concrete ledge on Cross Island, buried at approximately 751pm. May it forever rest in peace.