I still can't believe I saw and heard this.
Late one afternoon, at a sports-oriented bar in West Los Angeles which is a hangout for San Francisco 49er fans, two boozed-up, thirtyish guys--one black and one white-- were arguing about Asian-Americans, and who hated them more. That's right, these two nitwits, sittiing at the bar, were locked in a rather loud dispute about who was more anti-Asian-American. The bar was nearly empty and, fortunately, as far as I could see, there were no Asian-Americans present.
On the TV above the bar, they had just watched highlights of New York Knicks' Asian-American Jeremy Lin making some other point guards looks like clumsy boobs. The Lin success story had spurred the argument.
Back and forth, back and forth, these boobs were one-upping each other. "I hate them more," said the black, who was wearing an expensive-looking leather jacket. "No, no, I hate them more than you do, " countered the other guy, a short, nattily dressed blond.
Were these guys serious? The bartender, who admonished them and ordered them to pipe down, insisted they weren't joking. Their obnoxious banter continued.
"Since this Lin thing happened, Asian-Americans are the big topic in here," the bartender said about the upscale bar, which has a diverse clientele, mainly in the 25-50-age range, but apparently including very few Asian-Americans.. "Listening to bar talk I find out what people feel about Asian-Americans. I'm constantly surprised. It's not good."
Before Linsanity, Asian-Americans, he explained, had been flying under the radar and you never knew what people thought about them. But no more. Lin kicked the hornet's nest and racism came flying out. Apparently, said the bartender, customers have fun with Asian-American stereotypes and tell laundry and Chinese food jokes. Sometimes, he added, he sees people scouting the area to make sure there's no Asian-Americans around before they do their racist thing.
Assessing the attitudes that have surfaced since Linsanity surfaced, the bartender explained mournfully, "Hostility and disrespect. And these are basically decent people. You'd never think they were racist."
The two jerks were still tearing down Asians when a tall guy walked in and started talking to them. Suddenly he kissed the black guy lightly on the lips. Then the three walked out.
Picking up that I was surprised at the kiss and the questions it raised, the bartender smiled and said, "Yes, they're gay."
So these guys, who are in a minority, and are disliked and disrespected by many, are trashing another minority. "What the hell?...," I asked.
Perplexed, shaking his head, the bartender walked away.