Friday, July 25, 2008

Snippet: Red, the Most Racist Hair Colour

Passing through Newport on the coast of Oregon (a town roughly the size of Masterton) we stopped to buy a new headlight (having been pulled over by the police, not realizing it wasn't working). At the same time I decided to check out "Dollar Tree", which is a super-sized version of New Zealand's 2-Dollar Shop. They stock enough food and housewares that you could reasonably do most of your shopping there. Providing you don't eat fruit, vegetables, meat or milk (to name a few key items). Attesting to this was a large sign outside announcing that they now accepted food stamps as payment.

As I was checking out* I met one of people to whom that sign was addressed. She was around 50 and was informing the woman at the counter that she would only buy her paint roller covers at Dollar Tree because they were 12 cents less than elsewhere, but that she would be heading down the road to Ace Hardware to buy brushes because they offered a 3-pack that worked out cheaper. She didn't actually need three brushes, but she apparently intended to store the other two. Presumably so that she could avoid washing the first one for reuse.

As I pulled up behind her she immediately turned and related the same set of details and cost comparisions to me. She then said "I love your red hair. You know that shows the most pure, um ... " she fumbled over the word, "... genetics. Yes, everything else has had brown mixed in with it." The way she said this made it quite clear that brown was not simply a colour but a whole concept that she found deeply distastful. After a pause she added "See, you know there were no black slaves in your past." And then, she took her bag of discount roller covers and departed, leaving behind one bewildered Kiwi tourist and a checkout girl whose face had turned a deep shade of mortified.

1 comment:

fia said...