{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}


1ARLT101.Himes.LunchingattheRitzmore - (Ll-n 3W\jh *1 C...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: (Ll-n: 3W \jh «*1 C litiNCHING A T THE RITZMORE ‘i ' {to L) IF YOU HAVE ever been to the beautiful city of Los Angeles, you will know that Pershing Square, a palm-shaded spot in the center of downtown, is the mecca of the motley. Here, a short walk up from ‘Skid Row,’ on the green-painted benches flanking the crisscrossed sidewalks, is haven for men of all races, all creeds, all nationalities, and of all stages of deterioration — drillers and hopheads and tbs' and beggars and hunts and bindle-stifl's and big sisters, clipped and clippers, fraternizing with the tired business men from nearby oilices', with students from various universities, with the strutting Filipinos, the sharp-cat Mexican youths in their ultra drapes, with the colored guys from out South Central way. It is here the old men come to meditate in the warm midday sun, and watch the hustle and bustle of the passing younger world; here the job seekers with packed bags wait to be singled out for work; here the hunters relax and the hunted keep vigil. It is here you will find your man, for a game of pool, for a game of murder. Along the Hill Street side buses going west line up one behind the other to take you out to Wilshire, to Beverly Hills, to Hollywood, to Santa Monica, to Westwood, to the Valley; and the red cards and the yellow cars fill the street with clatter and dang. On the Fifth Street side a pale pink skyscraper overlooks a lesser structure of aquamarine, southern California architecture on the pastel side; and along Sixth Street there are various shops and perhaps an office building which you would not notice unless you had business there. But you would notice the Ritzrnore, swanltiest of West Coast hotels, standing in solid distinction along the Olive Street side, particularly if you were hungry in Pershing Square. You would watch footmen opening doors of limousines and doorman escorting patrons underneath the marquee across the width of sidewalk to the brass and mahogany doorway, and you would see hands of other doors-non extended from within to hold wide the glass doors so that the patrons could make an unharnpered entrance. And after that, if your views leaned a little to the Left, which they likely would if you were hungry in Pershing Square, CHESTER HlMES i 7 you would spit on the sidewalk and resume your discussion, your boisterous and heated and surprisingly-often very well-versed discussion, on defense, or on the army, or the navy, or that ‘rat’ Hitler, or ‘them japa,’ or the F.B.l., or the 'so and so’ owners of Lockheed, or that (unprintable) Aimee Sample McPherson; on history and geography, on life and death; and you would just ignore the ‘fat sonsaguns’ who entered the Ritzmore. on this particular day, a discussion which had begun on the Soviet Union had developed into an argument on discrimination against Negroes, and a young University of Southern California student from . 'Verrnont stated flatly that he did not believe Negroes were discriminated against at all. I ‘If you would draw your conclusions from investigation-instead of from agitation, you would find that most of the discrimination against Negroes exists only in communistic literature distributed by the Communist Party for organizational purposes,’ he went on. ‘As a matter of plain and simple fact, I have yet to visit a place where Negroes could not go. In fact. I think I've seen Negroes in every place I've ever been —- hotels, theatres, concerts, operas . . .’ ' ‘Yass, and I bet they were working there, too,’ another young fellow, a drifter from Chicago, argued. ‘Listcn, boy, I'm telling you, and I‘m telling you straight, Negroes are out in this country. They can't get no work and they‘can’t go nowhere, and that’s a dirty shame for there’re a lot of good Negroes, a lot of Negroes just as good as you and me.’ Surveying the drifter from head to foot, his unshaven face, his shabby Impressed suit, his run-over, unpolished shoes, the student replied, ‘Frankly, that wouldn’t make them any super race.’ ‘Huh?’ 'However, that is beside the point,’ the student continued, smiling. "The point is that most ofwlmt you term discrimination is simply a matter of taste, ofpersonsl likes and dislikes. For instance, if I don't like you, should I have to put up with your presence? No, why should I? But this agitation about Negroes being discriminated against by the Army and Navy and defense industries and being refused service by hotels and restaurants is just so much bosh.‘ ‘Are you kidding me, fellow?’ the drifter asked suspiciously, giving the student a sharp look, 'Or are you just plain dumb? Say, listen — ’ and then he spied a Negro at the edge of the group. ‘Say, here‘s a colored fellow now; I suppose he knows whether he’s being discriminated against or not.’ ‘Not necessarily,‘ the student murmured. Ignoring him, the drifter called, ‘Hey, mister, you mind settling a little argument for us.’ The Negro, a young brown-skinned fellow of medium build with ...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Ask a homework question - tutors are online