Odd Choices at the Barber Shop
Recently, I was about to attend a friends 40th birthday and that morning I realized I never got my crazy overgrown hair cut. I usually get my haircut with my stylist that I’ve gone to for almost 20 years. In the last two years I found myself in this same situation of needing a quick trim because I couldn’t get my rear in gear and book it to SF, so I found a cute little barber shop close to our house for dependable and quickie cut. At each visit I am reminded why I don’t go there on a regular basis.
This recent visit was the icing on the cake of all the appointments. The story goes, right after I arrive another stylists mentions that she was waiting for her bang appointment to come in, or she would cut my hair right away. Looking back this little moment was foreshadowing. Her client arrived and the conversation in the shop moved towards politics. The newly arrived older client (around 50 something) opened the conversation with a big bang by announcing that she likes Donald Trump because he’s “such a handsome man and I am so into him and he really speaks the truth”. Which was followed by my older latino barber (60 something) chiming in with “I think Donald has a lot too say and he does speak the truth”. To which I replied, “well many will argue that Bernie speaks the truth on issues”. All I got was silence from my audience and the three of them just carried on about the Donald.
The conversation went deeper and deeper about the Donald, while I kept my mouth shut. Then my barber started in on the immigration issue, to which he said “I think Trump speaks the truth about the issue of immigration.” That was it, I had to respond to such a comment. I opened with, “So you agree with all of Trumps comments on the issue of immigration?” to which he replied, “of course”. iI followed with, “so you agree with all of Trump’s racist comments about the latino community and how all immigrants are criminals.” He paused for a second and then looked at me in the mirror, and simply said “yes, I think he’s speaking the truth!”. I was floored. Here is a man who obviously a latino (based on his last name) and he is holding a man with history of racism, to such a high regard. I bowed my head in shame. It’s reminded of how some people feed into what their environment breeds, building this no-regard for my own culture attitude.
Why do I keep going back to such a place when their speaks against everything who I am? Honestly, I am guilty of needing that reminder of who I am! While sitting there in shock by the conversation, its a good to be reminded what you stand for and how not everyone around you, likes you. Two days after the barber visit, a news piece hit the CNN website with Trump touting that he will “be the best thing for women” and that “women voters love him”. Of course this news story was followed by a new piece about Trumps huge following and support by the white supremacy movement. *Mic Drop* You do the math!
When I started writing this piece, more and more outrageous stories about Trump just kept rolling off the internet and radio onto my lap. Over the past 5 days since I started writing this post. I've been coming back to this post, adding or editing it with new information. The last shocker news piece to really floor me was a news radio show piece with a republican political analyst raising the flag, saying that Trump now has a strong and loyal base within the Latino community. I am loss for words about the absence of logic or simple lack of understanding of one sect of the community.
My theory is this group of Latinos who supposedly “love trump” might be of certain generations. At a recent gathering I broke bread with a family friend that had come out of the closet for leaving the church and choosing not to practice religion. Regardless of her reason, this important act to leave a faith so late in their life for what ever personal journey. Is proof that people can change their personal nature on their own and break away from what their community has groomed into thinking or believing.
With all these experiences and revelations I must end this piece with this question. Is there hope for people who contradict themselves because of the company they keep. I believe there is hope, when times are bad we can find our resilient side of our humanity waking up. Looking back in history, generations breed these moments in history where absence of rational human dignity lays to the side because change is feared greatly. The 60's was the birth of a new vision of freedom and love, while the ripples of the movement lived to day, gone are those beliefs for so many of that generation. Most of that generation has abandoned it and have sadly reverted back to the same narrow vision of humanity that a previous generation embraced.
Before we start to label people as "they speak the truth", we need to open our minds by fact checking these so-call platforms. Especially before you exercise your right to vote. It's too easy to listen to a tv show, radio station or even your buddies who come into a barbershop. More importantly, don't be afraid to ask questions or challenge those who might not have all the facts. Thinking back, I think that barber was not 100% sure of what he believed when looking at me in the mirror. I might haven missed the opportunity to shed some light to the out reaches of his narrowed perspective. Then again he was holding me hostage with a pair of scissors to my hair. I was a sitting duck to become a victim of frustration. (For the record no one in the shop knew I am gay.)