In response to “How black are you?”

I was in the cafeteria eating lunch with my regular lunch friends (2 white women, Mina and Sheri, and a white man named Don). We’ve known each other socially for several years. As we were eating a friend of mine named “Sarah” (white woman) walked up and said “Hello, How’s it going? Can’t stay to chat since I have a meeting to run to. Let’s talk later.” Sarah left the cafeteria. Mary casually comments “Wow. Sarah has a really deep tan this summer. She must stay outdoors an awful lot.”

I said, “It looks really good with her hair. She looks a lot healthier after all the problems she’s gone through in the past few years.”

Sheri looks up from her meal and says venomously, “She’s too dark. She looks just like a nigger.” I was stunned and for some weird reason said sarcastically “Well, thank you.” Everyone else at the table was also stunned and hardly breathing. Sharon then rememberd she was sitting with a black woman and started lamely stammering, “I mean,uh, well I didn’t, mean to say that like that, ummm. I forgot you were black.”