I returned to the city yesterday after five days in Vermont. Took a cab home from the airport and had an engaging conversation with the cabbie who is from the Ivory Coast. He has been in the States for fifteen years, lives in Harlem, and is married to an American. He told me that some of his wife’s family looks down on him. One cousin called him “a stupid African.”
“This is someone who lives on public assistance,” the cabbie told me. “If you come from a poor country you never think to take the government’s money because it doesn’t exist for you. I have lived on three continents, I speak three languages, but I am a stupid African?”
I asked him how he dealt with the cousin.
“My father used to tell a story. If you are a taking a shower and a man steals your clothes, you do not chase that man because then you will look even more foolish than him.”
Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Yeah.
[Photo Credit: Brian Hillegas]