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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Poison and prejudice

The street was filled with evening strollers, scarves wound around our necks to fight the nighttime chill. Hand in hand, we came upon a food cart, its dark-skinned vendor laboring diligently over his trays of lamb kabobs and roasted meats. The smell was heavenly and we turned our heads to follow its sweetness, smiling as we passed.

From behind us, a voice announced: "That's how the Arabs poison us, you know. The bastards are trying to poison Americans with the food from their carts." The man was boozy - pompous and swaggering. He felt he owned New York.

I smiled weakly at the vendor who must have heard, feeling shame for my whiteness and trying somehow, silently, to apologize for the association.


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