It’s my first time at Bay Plaza Mall. All the people here look like me, so I feel welcomed but not exactly at home. It’s a weird feeling. The building and its structure does not give me the feeling of pride, like if my people have arrived. Some of the stores are the same stores that once did not allow my people to enter or at least its workers seemed to dislike my people. And, even though they are now in my neighborhood, close to home, it seems things are still the same.
I look up to see Macy’s. I was never a fan of Macy’s. It was never an option. Now, it is, being much closer to home.
But something about this mall in all its glory and lights, is depressing. It really is.
I walk into Aldo shoe store and watch a store clerk tell a young lady the shoes really are one hundred and fifty dollars. The young lady places them back. It wasn’t the only time in the mall when I watched people put things back because of their prices.
Then I remember, this mall reminds me of a mall I went to in Argentina. A mall that was placed in a poor neighborhood. The people could only window shop.
However, in this case, these people are still buying. Could they afford the items? Well in America, you can dress up like you are a part of a different class, even if you are not in that class. Poor people don’t always look poor. In America, you can shop like you are happy with your financial situation.
There are plenty of people with bags. They seem to be proud of their bags. They carry them with long necks and talked with wide smiles. The names on the side of the bag seem to matter more than the items in the bag. American Eagle. Gap. Aeropostale. Victoria’s Secret.
I didn’t shop. I couldn’t shop. So, I told my sisters they could go on without me. I sat down and tried to get a hold to my thoughts.
When I sat down, I thought about what I saw as soon as I entered the mall. I did not see the long lines or the big stores with their big names. I only saw the images of the model and those huge pictures in the windows. Almost all the pictures were of white women, white men, and white children. All the people around me were different shades of brown. The people shopping and the people working were all brown but the pictures hanging in the stores showed almost only white people.
I saw a handful of white people at the mall. I even saw a white janitor and one white worker. There were some white people shopping.
But for the most part, I see a sea of brown. They run the mall but they don’t own the mall. Those who run the mall place their images up, to remind us who run the mall, who really owns it.