For more than two weeks I had searched the dairy section at the Safeway at Waterfront Mall for Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese which, living in SW DC since November 2001, is where I have purchased it many times over the years.
Planning to mix up a batch of ground beef for burgers for Sunday's dinner and the weeks leftovers before leaving the apartment for my 29 June 2008 Sunday photo walk I made a mental note to stop in at the Whole Foods on P Street, during my walk, to pick up some monterey pepper jack cheese.
And when I say a mental note I usually will say the world outloud or jot int down into my note pad which is deliberate on my part so as to register the thought in my brain making it more likely that I will forget.
Not even a second would pass after registering "Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese - Whole Foods Market" did the words or thought but more flashback "I hate shopping at Whole Foods" spiral through my head.
My white friends talk about how they love shopping at Whole Foods or brag about how this one and that one cruised them at the DC Eagle or the fabulous time they had at some circuit party or the bath house my reflections which haunting similar to those that flashed before on Sunday afternoon when I contemplated stopping in a Whole Foods for some Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese.
While Whole Foods may be organic and eco-inclined and have received awards for one of the best places to work ... from the very first moment that they saw me, a black man, walk through door their first, last and after thought was to oversee, police, watch, and stalk me.
In the exact same way that when I visited the DC Eagle the night before that they watched my ever move that they have watched my ever move since my first visit to the first DC Eagle almost 30 years ago. If after 30 years I can not walk into the DC Eagle or on my job without being overseen, policed, stalked at every along the way ... Independence Day does not mean to me, a black man ... what it means to you.
But, shopping at Whole Foods is no different than shopping at Safeway. If I can not walk into the Safeway at Waterfront without being targeted the problem is not me. Nor has it ever been me. The problem, at least from where I stand is you!
If you were me or I were you ... what would you do!
I hate shopping at Whole Foods but Safeway, too!
The problem, for me ... has always been you!