marina_bonomi: (sad)
Yesterday I had a rather instructive experience.

I had driven to the mall for a quick run of grocery shopping, that done I went to the parking lot with my cart, I was moving between two cars to reach my own when I realized that the cart was too big to go through (I am very short sighted and I have trouble gauging distances, for that reason I always move slowly when pushing a cart or driving in a parking), as soon as I realized, I backed off and moved to go around the car, just then someone from the inside honked and started yelling someting I didn't catch.

A woman came out of the car and assaulted me verbally : " Where do you live, we are in Italy! If I hadn't caught you you'd have pushed through, scratched three or four cars and driven off!!"

I tried to calm her down: " Madam, there are no damages, as soon as I saw the space was too narrow I went the other way".

" Only because I caught you! but I'll write down the license plate, I'll call the police and we'll see what they say".

" Madam, there is no damage whatsoever"

" If I hadn't caught you there would have been, and you'd driven away, but I'll tell the owners of the other cars. And I've your license plate, I'll call the police, you'll hear from me again!"

" Madam, there is no damage and you can't say what I would have done if there had been some."

" Are you telling me that you'll have left a card? But it doesn't end here, I'll call the police, I have witnesses!".

It went on like this for about ten minutes, I trying to defuse this absurd situation staying calm and polite and she repeating over and over " I'll call the police, I have witnesses, this doesn't end here". At some point she and her cohorts entered the mall, I snapped a photo of her undamaged car with my cell-phone just in case and drove home. It took a while to stop shaking,

I couldn't understand her obsession with calling the police. Afterwards, thinking of some other things she had said, it dawned on me: she had classified me as  immigrant- likely paperless and was threathening to call the police to cower me.
I was breaking the pattern by not being intimidated, I was denying her her power trip and she went in a loop, trying the same approach over and over because it had to work.

A rather graphic demonstration of hidden privilege. I doubt she would have reacted in quite the same virulent way if she hadn't  mislabeled me.


 
'Amara Terra Mia' ('Oh Bitter Land of Mine') is an Italian song written by Enrica Bonaccorti and Domenico Modugno, a poignant lament of a Southern Italian emigrant forced to leave his land and his love to find the means to survive.

Here is the text, with English translation.

Under the cut )

Italian group Radiodervish sings a bilingual version of the song in Italian and Arabic in this video



From [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott 's journal, very much worth reading in my opinion: And Pharaoh’s Heart Hardened

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marina_bonomi

March 2013

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