It’s Been a Minute, But Then This Happened

…and I had to write about it.

So, I’m standing in a UPS store, waiting to drop off a package. White woman says, “may I help you sir.”  I don’t flinch, just say, “I’m here to drop off a package.”  The woman tells me to set it down on the scale and, “Hold on, I’ll get you a drop off receipt.”  At the end, we exchange pleasantries and I leave.

As I’m walking out, I mention to my friend on the phone, “this being called sir is something else.”  White man who was in the store at the time and was now walking beside me says, “Yeah, I thought you were going to punch her.”

WTF? Nothing I did even indicated I was remotely moved by what the woman had said. My only comment was spoken outside the store, in a conversational tone, to the person I was speaking with on the phone. At what point did this gentleman see anything in my actions, behavior, or tone, that would have led him to make such a statement?

Oh wait, I’m Black. I’m wearing a black (glittery) knit cap on my bald head (it’s 37 degrees out), and a black jacket. Yeah, I must be prone to violence.

Or maybe, I’m misreading the whole situation? How ironic would that be eh? That I’m misinterpreting what he meant just because he’s a White male?

When I’m quiet, I must be plotting something illegal.  When I’m speaking out, I’m being loud or ‘sassy’. When I’m walking through a store, minding my own business, I’m casing the joint. If my hands are in my pockets, I’m hiding something. If my hands are out, I’m showing aggression or about to steal something. If I’m sitting there, I’m loitering. If I tell you I’m tired, I get told I’m being lazy. The list goes on. What is it going to take for White people to get how constant, consistent RACIALLY based bias (direct, and implicitly delivered) breaks people (YES, ‘PEOPLE’. WE ARE HUMAN) down?

I was feeling pretty okay with the world right up until then but now, I’m tired and just want to never leave my nest where I can just be. All the while hoping no one mistakes me for a burglar as I’m unlocking my apartment door, calls the cops, and I end up arrested or shot when I open the door to the police.

SIGH.

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