Going “Ghetto” at Marshall’s

I had a really amazing experience at Marshall’s in the Lake Crest Village Shopping Center a few days ago. Have you ever been to that Marshall’s? It’s a bit back from the other store fronts, and it seems like they always have a long line to the cash registers.

This weekend, my daughter and I were in line behind a couple of children. The two boys were probably 2 years old and 7 years old. One was in the cart; the other was climbing on the cart. They were African American, and the tall, striking woman just in front of them was also African American. But all the while these two boys were fussing, the tall woman had her back to them. I kept wondering why she wasn’t looking after her kids.

Turns out, they weren’t her kids. The mother of these kids had sent them to wait in line. She showed up a bit later. Then her sister and a very tall man jumped in line too. There are ways to let the line know someone’s saving your place. The way these folks shouldered into the line was extremely rude. My six year old thought they were cutting and said so. The café-latte-colored woman behind us was incensed.

Eventually she was loud enough in her complaint that the tall man turned around. He asked, “Who cut the line?” The woman behind us shouted, “You did!” And the fight was on.

It deteriorated into a yelling match all across the several register lanes where one woman was using a string of F words and another told her “she should be ashamed” speaking like that in front of her kids. We had a front row view of it all. I moved my young daughter slightly to the side, out of the line of fire.

When the lighter skinned woman accused the “cutting” woman of “acting Ghetto” –that’s when the “I’ll see you outside” remarks were made.

I got home and told my husband about the fight. I also mentioned in passing that I saw something we’d bought at another store for a few dollars less at Marshall’s. In his usual pragmatic fashion he answered, “Yeah, it was cheaper at Marshall’s–but have you ever seen a fight like that at [the other store]?” Guess he’s right. I never have seen a fight like that at the other place. Next time I go back to Marshall’s, I’ll be wearing body armor.

10 Comments so far

  1. SFChick74 (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

    What a freaking nightmare! That’s why I avoid leaving the house if at all possible. Well, it feels like that anyway.

    With all the nutbars out there these days, it’s better to vent on a blog than confront the idiots who won’t learn from the confrontation anyway.

  2. Ursula (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

    I see we are of like minds, SFChick. I would rather vent here than step in the fray. I was most definitely outnumbered at the store, and nobody loves the guy who breaks up a fight. He’s usually the one who gets “damaged.”

  3. kit (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 10:51 am

    This blog and its responses make me very uncomfortable.

  4. Ursula (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 11:12 am

    Why does it make you uncomfortable? I find it odd that speaking truthfully–at least from one’s own perspective, which is all we have–would make you uncomfortable?

  5. Sam Jones (unregistered) on February 5th, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

    Why is it I never hear about white people getting in fights like this, or just acting like this?

    It’s unfortunate, but it’s my reality… Stereotypical low-class, ghetto minority behavior. Bill Cosby is absolutely right.

    So… When exactly is white history month?

  6. Blunter (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 8:11 am

    Well, actually they do get into all kinds of silly confrontations.
    But…but in the attempt to seperate ourselves from those we even have a special name for them – we call them “white trash”, thus emphasizing how atypical those kinds of behavior patterns are for the “real” whites…

    I’ve always thought of it as somewhat peculiar…

  7. Ursula (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 9:17 am

    I just want to emphasize that this was an observation. The most interesting part of it for me was how one person of color calling another person of color “ghetto” was an insult. If a similar thing had happened among white people at Marshall’s I would have blogged about it as well–but may have been even more critical.

  8. Sam Jones (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 11:00 am

    I appreciate your honesty in blogging this occurance.

    Whenever you talk about race, it quickly becomes a slippery slope full of double-standards and innuendo.

    Despite what anyone says, perception *is* reality, and the perception gets reinforced every day, in the newspapers, in the rap videos, and in your department store. My very white, pot smoking, dope selling neighbor is no better, but at least he’s not doing it in front of my house with the bass of his stereo waking up my kids, flipping me off whenI tell him to turn it down.

  9. fks (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 11:18 am

    And it shouldn’t have been an insult because they were both people of color?

    This blog is awkward and uncomfortable. I don’t know how much more of it I can take. Maybe if I didn’t also read http://blogging.la or http://sf.metblogs.com/, then I wouldn’t know of the potential of a blog like this. But I do, so this one is disappointing. I know this blog is relatively new, but I don’t know how long I can make excuses for it.

    And to the comment above by Sam Jones: White History Month? Are you kidding? Did you go to public school in CA? That’s all we learn about. I wish there wasn’t a need for a Black History Month. I wish K-12 curriculum wasn’t so lopsided and so difficult to change. But from my experience, both are true. So to take roughly 10% of the school year to focus on contributions and the like from black people in the history of our country, well, I think that is damn near the least our institutions can do.

    Ok…Rant over.

  10. Blunter (unregistered) on February 6th, 2007 @ 5:20 pm


    Playing guilt games much, FKS? Why?

    What’s so awkward and uncomfortable about reality?
    Well, maybe it is, sometimes.

    Regardless, Ursula clearly stated it was an observation. But one could have missed it, I guess, while reading blogs with more “potential”…(wink)

    The change, FKS, comes from within, not from the outside. As long as one feels inferior inside, as long as one is taught to be a victim, as long as one has that feeling and worldview reinforced countless number of times in one’s family, one’s church, in one’s circle of close friends, etc. – one will continue to suffer regardless of how tolerant and accepting one’s environment is…It’s just the way it is.

    And where is that 10% of the school year come from? Did you conduct some research on this, by the way? How did you arrive to this estimate that is so “damn near the least our institutions can do”? Seems like a randomly chosen and arbitrarily assigned number to me…
    You sound a bit too generous with my kids’ academic schedule. They already have to pledge allegiance to the flag “under god”…every morning…, thanks to post-war anti-communist hysteria here in the U.S. (1954)

    You want the kids to be taught history? Real history? Sure…(no argument from me)
    But without preference, just history. The way it happened. It might not be pretty but… definitely – a worthy undertaking!

    Specifically “Black history”?…Why? What do you find so helpful in teaching schoolchildren a race oriented approach to history?
    Why do you want to do that? This “political correctness” reeks of hypocrisy.

    What about Asian history? Would the World War II concentration camps for Asian Americans on the territory of the United States warrant an Asian history month, in your opinion? How about with some radiation on top (from Hiroshima and Nagasaki)?
    Mexican history? Russian trapper, military contributions?…Eskimo history? British history anyone?…French? German? Native American history?…To be fair – Let’s give them all 10% of the school year, shall we?

    What? Running low on school time?.. Don’t worry, we’ll teach them how to read next year!


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