“There’s a monkey in your chair.”

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So I’m sitting in one of my favorite Laguna Beach cafes, typing away.

A woman walks in. Apparently a regular. She orders her coffee, then says to the barista—lightly—”There’s a monkey in your chair.”

I look. It’s a wicker chair in the corner, with a little African-American boy sitting on the pillows.


I’m pretty sure she meant nothing. But sometimes meaning nothing means everything. In other words, ignorance isn’t really an excuse in 2018 for being stupid or unaware or clueless. Because—with the world connected unlike ever before—we need to know better. The young boy’s mother was standing to the side. She’s white. And I wonder, had the woman seen black parents, would she have said “There’s a monkey in your chair”? (Doubtful). Or would she have been smarter, keener, more on point? (Likely).

I’m just tired of people saying, “I didn’t mean [blank].” Mean actually doesn’t matter. There’s shit to know. Shit to 100% know.

A woman isn’t a bitch.

A Jew isn’t cheap and shifty.

And an African-American kid isn’t a monkey.