“Which one did you use?”

July 15th, 2010 by Editor B

We went to a release party for the new issue of The Trumpet last night. I remember attending some of the first meetings of the Neighborhoods Partnership Network back in 2006, but I’ve been out of the loop lately.

So it was a great pleasure to take Xy and our daughter to the Community Book Center. We enjoyed free food from Lil Dizzy’s and we were regaled by tales of Adella Adella the Storyteller.

But the best part of the evening, for me, came when I went to the restroom. I should mention that the Community Book Center caters to a mostly African-American clientele, and their inventory reflects an orientation (by no means exclusive) to black literature.

Therefore I was mightily amused when I made my way back to the restroom and saw a door marked “colored only.” I wasn’t sure what was behind that door, but I had a laugh. Then I made use of the restroom, which was located next door and standing wide open.

When I came out, I saw a young boy of maybe eight or ten years who had wandered back there.

“Which one did you use?” he asked.

“What? I —”

Then I turned around and saw that in fact the door of the restroom I’d just used also had a sign. And what do you suppose it said…?

Segregated

“Oh,” I said. “I guess I used the ‘white only’ restroom.”

The little boy smiled. “You don’t have to, you know.”

10 Responses to ““Which one did you use?””

  1. Robyn Says:

    This story made me smile big and cry a little bit. Thank you for sharing. I’d like to link to it for some friends, if you don’t mind.

  2. Editor B Says:

    Of course.

  3. Jules B. Says:

    I like it, kudos to the Book Center… a very thoughtful way to bring home a not-very-distant era of our history & make it real for a younger crowd …

  4. Lee Says:

    It’s seems to me that it’s something that should be erased from our memories. I still can’t believe that people agreed with segregation.

  5. chrissieroux Says:

    Wow!

  6. dsb Says:

    Nicely done–the boy’s reaction is priceless. A few years ago I came across the real thing down in the Quarter:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/derek_b/159567885/

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I understand the significance and the intent; however, I can’t help but note that if that exact label was in a Barnes and Nobel or Books-a-Million, there would hell to pay.

  8. Robyn Says:

    If something like this were done at Barnes and Nobel or Books-a-Million there should be hell to pay. Different location; different context; different message altogether.

  9. Jack Schick Says:

    Y’all oughta step back from the local immersion, and now review the
    happenings of our present contemporary world. A famous Harvard guy who
    is kinda a sophisticated high-yalla tantrum-thrower becomes a world-media
    issue because a white cop tried to make sure there wasn’t a break-in at the house, and our fearless-leader makes the cop come down to this stupid baby
    level of needing to apologize for something.
    He needed to apologize for Nothing.
    It is interesting, B. that your new video-shipping log says you got
    “Never Cry Wolf”, (which I do recommend the book by Farley Mowat, his real
    life story of Canadian wolf study)
    Never Cry Wolf.
    The NAACP now deciding to try to play politics, setting up “the TEA party” as
    a racist, counter-revolutionary enemy for their ignant followers to Bash.
    Never Cry fucking WOLF, you damned Game-players!
    Let’s get real, and connect the dots………..
    The South African World Cup–did anybody think that endless, mindless noise
    of vuvuzela horns would give a different impression than the one right at the surface? I’m supposed to take your nation seriously?
    Let’s get off of the race-bait game….WE ARE ALL pretty close to being SLAVES
    right NOW, at this moment. ALL of us.
    Let’s stop emphasizing separation, as a political tool, when we are already
    little black girls and little white boys holding hands at kindergarten.
    Quit GOING ALONG with the BLACK RACISTS trying to fuck up our GOOD thing.

  10. dsb Says:

    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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