Carson, CA–Growing up in Los Angeles as a Black woman and interacting at businesses owned by those from the Asian community has always been tricky. In addition to the cultural differences and language barriers, the Asian community has a hard time escaping preconceived notions fed to them by mainstream society about the African-American community.
A couple of days ago I went to Nail Studio by Andrew located at 546 E Sepulveda Blvd in Carson. As someone who always promotes Black empowerment especially when it comes to the Black dollar, it is very embarrassing to have been trying to patronize a non-Black nail tech and then post such a negative encounter when these situations are not new.
The fact the police were called over a simple misunderstanding is super dangerous and illustrates the ways in which just like white folks, non-Black people try and weaponize the police against us. This is anti-Black behavior but not to the owner who doubled down on his actions.
I could care less if the owner feels the situation was racist or not. African-American people are dealing with anti-Black behaviors that manifest in various ways, such as being dismissive, rude, calling police and gaslighting Black people.
Who does that to people who are customers without trying to accommodate? Isn’t that what you are supposed to do in business?
Not only this, when Nail Studio by Andrew called the police, they lied and said I did not pay for services. When in reality, they refused to service me after I had an appointment, arrived on time and waited over 30 minutes to see a nail tech.
First and foremost, I want to say that taking time to write about disrespectful encounters at businesses and arguing over if the situation was “racist” or not, is very draining and not something I want to spend my time doing as a journalist. Within this, there is also an unhealthy burden placed on the African-American community to address and mend racial tensions, when this work is not being equally engaged in by other “people of color” (poc) groups.
As a Black person, if you even mention the fact you feel that another person of color is showing anti-Black or racist behaviors towards you, they become irate and upset, when anti-Blackness is a very serious issue in this country. It is the covert racism that continues to be an extreme hurdle for African-Americans. There is no reasoning with you or trying to come to middle ground in the spirit of conflict resolution you are dismissed and gaslighted completely.
Black people are always micromanaged at the workplace and under constant scrutiny to do a good job. We are expected to always be respectful, warm and welcoming for fear of being fired. Yet, when we try and demand the basic decency of respect as customers, we are made to look like the nuisance.
Although Nail Studio by Andrew claimed appointments received priority service, they moved on to the next person when I went to the bathroom briefly to readjust a nose ring.
Before going to the restroom I was seated in a chair next to an Asian tech who was doing a nail set. Despite this, she was able to engage with me, pick out nail colors (literally pull them out) she asked to see an example of what I wanted as well as discussed with me my simple request of a flat nail. This meant the nail tech didn’t rush when doing my nails, and took a few more minutes to file down the acrylic she placed over my real nails.
If you have been getting your nails done since a teen folks know exactly what I mean and the nail tech said she understood.
The issue came after the lady moved on to someone else while I was in the restroom. When she got to me, I repeated my simple request of a flat nail. Now all of a sudden, the first nail tech I spoke to (who I was seated next to still) said that if the woman could not do it, she couldn’t do it and sort of shrug me off.
As I tried to get the lady to understand what I was saying, she was also having dialogue with the woman in their native language (which is fine) but when I was trying to ask the woman to translate what I wanted she kept giving me the cold shoulder and said if she can’t do it, she can’t do it.
A few moments later after some brief dialogue with each other, the woman packed up her station and got up. As I inquired about what the issue was all I was told was that, “she couldn’t do it.” Not after I drove here when gas is $6 a gallon, waited over 30 minutes and we are finally in the process of the nails.
My time being wasted and the dismissive nature of the situation as a patronizing customer was mind blowing and definitely upsetting.
If that wasn’t bad enough, I had Latina women in the background literally trying to chastise me like I was their child, trying to provoke me and making the situation worse, while I tried talking to the owner of what just happened in his shop.
I did not leave my house that day to be gaslighted and ganged up on by mostly Latina and non-Black people in a nail shop. When you respond to situations folks make it seem like you are just acting irrational.
News flash: Asking for respect and customer service is not irrational.
I definitely could have left, but clearly Black people trying to demand basic respect is a foreign concept to people. Why is that? Why did people post and march during George Floyd, but weaponize police against the Black community on a daily? Why is it that when Black people try and bring up their anti-Black experiences they are gaslighted especially by other people of color? Why is the burden on African-Americans to always be respectful and polite, but people act like they can’t give that to us in return?
Luckily, the police officer who responded to the call was not irate and on his Derek Chauvin tip, which these business owners hoped would happen. Apparently, one of their employees was in my comments saying they wished they could have “did more” and next time “go to Black people.”
I most definitely will and Black people in Los Angeles I encourage you to do the same. The convenience is not worth the disrespect.