Thursday night we ended up at 810 Zone on the Plaza when the NFL Draft was not easy to watch on the computer (gasp!). For the non-Kansas Citians, this is a typical sports bar in an upscale shopping area near our apartment.
We joked around with the bartender who told stories about Twins players hanging out after games at the bar. After looking at Shea's credit card and ID, he loudly proclaims that he is the Irish stereotype. Important note: he was wearing his Irish Twins hat and a sweatshirt that says "IRELAND." Also, he's super short.
Bar tender to us: "Hey man, what are you? A walking stereotype? Shea Ryan Our-Very-Irish Last Name. And who are you? Rachel O'Flannery?" We talk more and tell him our evening plans. He then announces to the entire crowded bar area that the Our-Very-Irish Last Name's are going to the hood. Shea turns bright red, because, well, he's Irish.
So we finish our beers, and head to "the hood" for a Jamaican concert our neighbor invited us to. (Note: We're fully aware of the area we're going to, we're not naive newbies.) We drive up to the restaurant and then we sit in our car. And sit some more. In the interest of honesty, we were anxious. Because although we strive to live a very diverse and open-minded life, it's still nerve-wracking to know that when you walk in, you could be the only one with White skin. Turns out, we weren't. So we sat there, nervous, but knowing that we'd be hypocrites if we didn't go in.
So in, we went. It was a rundown bar with Jamaican style murals painted. The owner told us about the cover charge. Cash-less, Shea had to go across the street to the ATM. He drove the 30 feet. And then stood getting cash, trying to fit in while being the only White person. He arrived back at the bar, sweating profusely.
The band, after struggling through an hour of mike checks was good. And we both really loved the reggae music. And our neighbors are super fun and appreciative.
At one point, everyone got up to dance. Including the owner who came out from the kitchen still dressed in his red apron to dance with a customer.
Maybe it's not our usual scene, but we had a lot of fun, and minus the cover charge would definitely go back.
It's one of our White privileges that most of us are able to avoid situations where we feel uncomfortable due to our race. We could never be in the minority if we didn't choose to seek those situations out. Yes, we were nervous, but we'll keep being nervous til we're not. Because we'd be missing out on a lot of life if we only hung around with people that looked like us.