I'm in the greenroom last night, minutes before the show, and I hear someone say, "Kamau's in there." Now since everybody I know is already IN the green room and I know I don't know anyone in Seattle, I immediately get suspicious of someone wanting to see me before the show. In walks an older white guy with the longest dreadlocks I've seen outside of... well pretty much anywhere. Trailing behind him was a black woman.
Older Dreadlocked White Guy: I used to have a friend named Kamau. Did you ever live in Oregon?
ODWG stares at me quizzically : You never lived way out in the country in Oregon?
ODWG: Kamau was big like you.
(At this point we go back and forth like this at least three more times, before finally...)
ODWG: You sure you never lived in Oregon? Or the big island in Hawaii?
ODWG shakes his head wistfully: I thought you were Kamau.
Me: I AM KAMAU!
1) Why couldn't he wait until after the show when he saw me perform where he could have gathered more information. 2) Why don't some people... (I really want to say white people, but I'm trying to be better about that.) Why don't some people have that thing in there head where they go, "Wait... I should probably hang back and collect more information before I make the mistake of ONCE AGAIN implying that all black people look alike." 3) Why did he make is so difficult for me to justify my existence as a separate Kamau? Can't there be two "Kamaus?" Actually, there are probably thousands and thousands... just not in this country. 4) This was the dreadlocked, liberal, crunchy granola white guy. He is supposed to be on my side, and not make me feel marginalized or even worse not seen as an individual at all. I'm not surprised but I am exhausted.