I was at a party a few weeks back. It was a typical Utah house party: rock band, dancing, and no alcohol. After getting wasted on a few root beers, I decided to cut up a rug. As soon as I started doing my patented running man, this one kid looked at me. But it wasn’t just a look. It was a stare. And not just a regular stare. It was an “Oh, I know who you are” stare. I was sure I didn’t know the kid, so I just looked away for most of the time. He was also dancing, and it was apparent that he had memorized the words to the rap song that was blaring out of the speakers. As a few more songs went by, I noticed that he hadn’t lifted his gaze and that he continued to be the master of ceremonies, rapping away to what I thought were pretty inaudible lyrics.
When the stare went on for maybe 5 songs, I was pretty sure of what was going on: he figured I was that minority kid who was “down” (I was wearing a black fitted baseball cap, a sure sign of urban coolness). He wanted recognition for his own coolness—his beanie cap, two-step, and knowledge of hip hop lyrics.
I wanted to make sure that my assumption was correct. I approached him with a poker face, gave him an acknowledging head lift, and said, “What’s up?” He responded, “What’s up, dude?” I said, “You got some pretty good moves. Where are you from?” He responded, “I’m from Florida. Yeah, when I was a kid I had only like three white friends.” I wasn't exactly sure what he wanted me to say to that. Did he want me to compliment him?
Maybe he thought I'd be impressed somehow and would enthusiastically say something like, "Oh, word? So can we be homies?"