Race Relations

Do Not Move Off The Sidewalk Challenge: Holding Your Space in A White World

Last year, I was in the airport on the rolling walkway with clear directions posted before stepping on the sidewalk to ‘stand on the right or walk on the left.’ There was a White man in front of me that disregarded the sign and stood in the middle of the rolling walkway preventing anyone from passing him. Behind me, I could hear someone approaching, and I turned around and saw a middle age Black woman walking briskly with her rolling suitcase flying behind her. I pressed myself and my luggage against the side rail to move out of her way and allow her easy access to pass me. She whizzed by me and in front of her was the White man, oblivious that she was behind him and in an apparent rush. He never turned around, never moved and never once thought that others behind him might need to pass. While I would like to say the Black woman, leaped over him, luggage in tow in a single bound, she stopped dead in her tracks. She never said a word. She never politely tapped the man on the shoulder to say, “Excuse me, may I get by you?” She just accepted that he was not going to move and for some reason even though she was in an apparent rush, she made a choice not to ask for him to cede the space for her to pass. She waited for the rolling walkway to come to an end, waited for him to saunter off the walkway then immediately took off in a sprint heading towards her gate. That small interaction stayed with me my entire flight.

As I made my connecting flight, I was looking forward to having pizza at the airport. I cannot recall the name of the restaurant, but it has the best pizza with prosciutto, arugula and cooked eggs on top surrounded by hot, creamy goat cheese. After I got my pizza, I sat down at an empty counter and put my earphones in, anxiously ready to take a huge bite. Before I could get my first bite, a White man walked up to the opposite side of the counter, facing me, with his food. I looked up at him then looked down at the completely empty counter space (besides me sitting at it) wondering why he chose to stand directly in front of me as he added salt to his food? Typically, I would move down, but after witnessing the Black woman on the rolling walkway, I made a decision, “I am NOT moving! I do not care if he wants to stand there until I have finished every bite of this pizza, I refuse to move to accommodate him!” After he enjoyed a few bites of his food and noticed that I was not going to move, he packed up his belongings and moved to the end of the counter.

Victory!

It was just that easy. I made a conscious decision as a Black woman to hold my space. I was not going to cede my space to a White person because that is what was expected of me.  Now, before you read any further, this is not a blog about being rude, impolite, etc. I believe as an “average” human being we understand that there are sometimes you must and should cede your space. If you are in the way of someone that has some physical challenges or someone is elderly and as a result, has some physical issues that is different.  I am not talking about ordinary, everyday courtesy we extend to others for often apparent reasons. That is NOT what I am talking about so please do not message me about that or make this blog about that. If you do, you are taking the easy way out of this blog and not looking at the totality of what I am discussing.

I am talking about Black people, particularly Black women and People of Color being cognizant of how they navigate throughout spaces making accommodations for White people and White people having an expectation that Black people or People of Color must navigate their bodies to allow White people access in spaces. This is more than someone being rude; this is about White people feeling as if Black bodies should accommodate them in spaces and if we do not, it is seen as the Black person being rude, unpleasant and intimidating.

An example of this is a recent incident documented by Frederick T. Joseph, who took a photo of a White woman placing her feet on his dining tray on an airplane. The airline staff did not address the woman and when Joseph asked the woman to move her feet, she accused him of disrupting her flight. According to the article, when the flight staff asked the woman to remove her feet she stated, “If I put one foot down, I want to be accommodated for accommodating him.”  In this space, the White woman felt she was well within her right to infringe on Joseph’s space and when told she could not, she wanted to be accommodated as if respecting his space was doing him a favor.

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Photo by Frederick T. Joseph/Twitter

Black people and People of Color accommodate spaces for White people  so often that we may not even realize that we are doing it or how ingrained it is in Black culture to cede your space.  I hadn’t given thought to the incident in the airport in a while; however, yesterday I read a Twitter thread by, Tatiana Mac and the memory of that day instantly came to my mind.  (Please read the complete thread on Twitter.)

While thousands of people shared, understood and could relate to Tatiana’s story, there was an exchange by a White woman named Liberty Warrior that brought the thread full circle. (I  am providing screenshots below because I knew it would only be a matter of time before Liberty Warrior blocked me and true to form, when I went to the thread today, she had blocked me. Because I deal with women like Liberty Warrior often, I had already taken screen shots of the conversation because I knew she would do that. That is often the modus operandi of people like her. When they do not want to face the truth, they block the truth.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even in the virtual arena,  Black people and People of Color are excepted to cede their space.  If you look at the thread, Liberty Warrior  was repeatedly asked to remove herself from Tatiana’s thread, and she refused. Instead of starting her own thread in her own virtual space, she felt it was necessary to list all the times that People of Color have made her feel inferior in spaces on Tatiana’s thread. She could not understand that she was doing the very thing that  Tatiana was talking about just in a virtual space. When I mentioned this to her, she called me sweetheart, and when I told her that was not my name, she proceeded to tell me that SHE can call me whatever she wants. Why does she feel that she has that authority? Because in many spaces, even virtual spaces, many White people think that Black people and People of Color must step back, bow down, and  relinquish their virtual space to accommodate their racism.

For centuries, White America has dictated how Black people can navigate our own bodies in spaces.  It is not just the physical space itself being regulated by White people but the actual way Black people can use their bodies in these spaces. For instance, there was a time in this country that Black people were required to step off the sidewalk if a White person was approaching them and allow the White person to pass, before stepping on the sidewalk again.  According to Dr. Ronald L. F. Davis of
California State University,  Jim Crow laws provided “racial etiquette” for Black people. Black people were required to be “agreeable and non-challenging, even when the White person was mistaken about something.”

Black people are often told how much space we are allowed to take up, and our space is often infringed upon to accommodate White people. If we are tall, our height is used as a way to demonize us. This was evident when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was murdered within minutes by the police in Cleveland, Ohio. Tamir was described by now ousted police union president, Steve Loomis as, “Menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body.” Tamir could not help his height. Yet his physical appearance was used to justify his murder. If we take up too much space, it is a problem. Black people and People of Color are acutely aware of our bodies in spaces. I have been in meetings, and everyone has been acknowledged, but me or I am acknowledged last. I have sat in spaces, and after a quick introduction, people cease directing any comments to me. It is almost as if I am The Invisible Black Person by the door just taking up space. I am learning after the airport incident, to hold my space. I am here, and I will not apologize if me holding my space disrupts your day.

My challenge for Black people and People of Color, particularly Black women and Women of Color, is to hold your space. I challenge you for the next 24-48 hours to be aware of your body in spaces and do not move for a White person or make any apologies for physically occupying any space. Be mindful of how you navigate sidewalks, who moves to accommodate you and who doesn’t. If someone infringes on your space, do you speak up or remain silent?  Make a mental note of any time you feel you were “expected” to move and the reaction of the other person when you didn’t. Take note of how people accommodate others in spaces. Was it frightening or empowering to hold your space? Do you think people felt you were intimidating? How did you feel at the end of the day? 

For White people, I challenge you for the next 24-48 hours to be aware of how you treat Black people and People of Color in spaces. Do you have an expectation that Black people and People of Color should move out of your way? How many times do you insert yourself and your comments into virtual spaces because you feel it is your right without reading and listening to People of Color that have stated their truth on a particular issue? Do you speak around the Black person as if they are not in the room? Do you interrupt People of Color when they are speaking? Are you cutting a Black person or a Person of Color in line because you feel that is your right? Also be aware of how it feels to be cognizant of how your body navigates spaces and imagine how that would feel to do that at the very least for 8 hours out of each day.

When I held my space at the airport, I felt empowered. I was angry that someone stood right in front of me and started eating as if I was not right there. I am here. I have every right to be here. I have the right to be in spaces. I will no longer apologize for taking up space nor will I cede my space to a White person simply because that is some unwritten but expected rule. Over the next two days, walk in your authority.  Walk as if you want the world to know, “I am here!” Because you are. And you deserve to be. 

Please come back after you do the challenge and share some of your thoughts!

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Enjoy the Sidewalk!  Photo Credit: Nappy.co Artist: @photosbyphab

144 replies »

  1. I’m a middle-aged white guy. I’ve seen this phenomenon in person many times. I hope people of color stop ceding your space to people like me. Not only is it bad for you but it’s allowing white people to become way too lazy and entitled, leading us to a state of affairs where we accept and celebrate adsolute mediocrity and even stupidity, as long as it’s white – witness president trump.

    • Thank you for reading, Tim and I agree with everything you have said. I also appreciate that you say you have seen this happen. Many people don’t believe this is a thing and I tell them just read through the comments on this blog and the Twitter thread. There is no way all of us are making this up. I also agree about Trump. Don’t get me started LOL!

  2. Back in the day at Duke University, the Black Student Union had a 3rd story “room” that overlooked the quad. Sittting there, looking down at students walking past each other, we’d be amazed at how many times black students would lower their heads when walking past whites students. They didn’t even realize they were doing it, they just did it. There are so many different manifestations of subconscious feelings of inferiority.

    • Yep. It is so funny how things like that are so ingrained that we just do not even realize when we are doing it. And then our kids do it and so on and so forth. This ends today. I just cannot do it anymore. We have a right to be in all spaces. We have a right to hold our heads up high! Thank you, Ralph for adding that piece about looking down. We need to walk in our authority.

  3. For many years, I have consciously ceded space to POC as a white woman, precisely because I know white people often expect that they are the ones with the “right” to take up as much space as they want. (And then I sometimes worry they might mistake my actions as attempts to avoid them. Sigh. We have so much work to do… So much damage to repair.)

    • Today I was at a festival which was very crowded and people bumping into you is the norm. No harm. No foul. A White woman bumped into me and she was so apologetic. It actually surprised me. I told her I was fine and she apologized even more. (Maybe she read this blog lol) but I wasn’t bothered. It’s a festival. That will happen. But I mentioned that to say, the fact she was aware made me smile on the inside. It seemed like she got it. I think when you do cede space to a POC it is probably done in a way that the people understand you are being kind. And if they are like me they appreciate that you are aware because most people aren’t. Thank you for reading!

  4. I’m so sorry that this is still a thing. Please don’t lump all white people together. I see you. I hear you. I honor your struggle.

    • Thank you, Kerri. Yes it is still a thing and the outpouring of stories has been amazing and heartbreaking. I find myself feeling said when people say something like, “I wish I would have held my space.” Thank you for reading and understanding.

  5. This really resonates with me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that I grew up in a mostly-White private school in the 70s and early 80s. I was very tall, and a star student but not terribly popular. The teachers adored me; I had very few friends. The only other Black girl in my class hated me. I learned to walk with my head down between classes, because it was the best way for me to minimize the space I inhabited. It has taken me a lifetime to learn to walk with dignity and pride and ownership of the space I’m in. When I have brought this up occasionally with that other Black girl (as adults we’ve become friends), she is always surprised that I felt she hated me (she really did; she would beat me up on the regular for the other kids’ entertainment). And she always surprises me that she felt, as i did, that she needed to be as invisible as possible.

  6. Thanks for sharing this. There are so many ways that racism is reinforced. However, I’m not sure that THIS is always a perfect example. I only say that because, as an obnoxiously basic white girl, this happens to me many, many times every. single. day. People step in front of me in line at the grocery store. Knock me off of sidewalks. A few weeks ago a group of people actually sat on the chair I was sitting in while trying to take a selfie. And it’s not just me. I’ve notice this happening to others of all genders, ages, and races all around me too. I’ve come to the conclusion that people are generally pretty bad at looking out for one another. So, I think this might be one example that is above (or perhaps below) race. For my part, I try to keep my eyes open and my head up whenever possible and pay attention to everyone around me. I can always do better. Thanks for the reminder to stay vigilant!

    • White girl to white girl, just a friendly reminder: when a POC shares their experiences of negative treatment they’ve received, it’s often met with disbelief and skepticism from white people. Generally it’s better to trust that they know their own experience, just like anyone does. Not saying you haven’t also experienced something similar, but if a POC has had a racially-motivated negative experience, best to take them at their word because they actually lived it. We reinforce negative racial biases when POC’s shared experiences are immediately met with skepticism, even if it’s sincerely held.

  7. Appreciate this and completely agree. A bit confused why you say her feet were on his tray table when they’re actually on her own tray table? The article stands well on its own, and to my understanding her feet were on her own table. Still rude, imposing, and privileged, but not quite as severe as if they were on his table.

  8. Yep, as a white man, I’ve never, ever, not even once had this happen to me. Ever. Not by a people of color. Not by a people of not color. It must be my being a not people of color that has protected me from this happening. Get. ****ing. Serious. Are you this weak? Truly, if you’re this much of a victim, I feel sad for you. You’re sad. And small. I piss and moan all day long about how stupid and oblivious people are. Of course I’ve drawn conclusions when I come across these oblivious people. Driving down the road and a person driving in the fast lane refuses to move over forcing me to pass them on the right. And of course I look over as I pass to confirm my suspicions. Immaculate gold late 90’s Lexus with a Kleenex box in the back window…hmm I wonder what race this person is going to be? Am I shocked? Rarely. Do I then conclude that this is part of some sort of systematic oppression conspiracy designed to slow me down? No. Honestly, I’m glad I don’t have that crutch. My problems are my own. I go to a very large very liberal college and I swear to god I’m am falling over myself to get out of the way for people. The only people who actually make an effort to also make space for me as I make space for them are other white men. Everyone else walks around with a chip on their shoulder like I owe them something.
    Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me your anecdotal experience is more valid than mine. Try to tell me you only see white people doing this. Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies. I’m sorry I’m not sorry. Honestly if you came across me you’d probably really like me. I try really hard to treat everyone with respect even on my worst days, no matter what I have going on in my life. That is, until they give me a reason not to. I don’t put up with that. I’ve been through too much to be sorry for nothing or to put up with disrespect. So if you come at me with that, that’s what you’ll get back.
    So if a white man is standing in your way, why not ask him to move? I’d happily jump out of your way. Is that just me? I doubt it. Not because you’re a people of color or because I’m a not people of color. But because you’re a people and that’s what a respecful people do for other people. Or don’t. I’ve been there. Sometimes I’d rather just piss and moan than actually do something about it. But that’s on me.

    • Thank you for reading, Tim. Try taking yourself out of the center and not making this overall issue about you personally. I always ask people to do that when they respond like you have because I sense even from your opening sentence, you have made this about you and are somewhat defensive. To say if I came across you I would really like you. Who said I wouldn’t? But this blog isn’t about liking people, is it? But you’ve mentioned that, for what reason? You’ve also mentioned disrespect. No one mentioned being disrespectful but you. So if you read back through what you have said perhaps you can see how you made this about you personally and not the overall message.

      The blog is here, so is the Twitter thread and a host of comments. Maybe try reading again and this time not make it about you personally. It is easy to say, “Well I am not that way,” and close the door off to anything else. Challenge yourself not to do that. Be well!

      • And my point is you’ve repeatedly nullified experiences when they don’t fit your narrative by saying some version of what you just said to me. I see this stuff all the time. A broad generalization is made about white people, here it’s about space and individual whites stand up and say “whoa, those are generalizations and I’ve experienced that too” to which the response is exactly what you’ve said repeatedly. “No white people, you haven’t. It’s different. You need to listen. You need to hear the totality of the experiences.” Do I need to listen to you? You clearly don’t feel like you need to listen to the people you don’t want to listen to.
        You made it about me. You said “white people.” You didn’t say rude people or inconsiderate people. You said white. I am white. Therefore, I am the problem. You don’t just get to throw around generalizations and then act surprised when the people from that group sound off.
        I mentioned disrespect because what you’re saying is disrespectful, maybe worse. You don’t know me but you’ve made an assumption about my character. You did that when you said white people. Is this unclear? Do you not get that your use of those kinds of generalizations is not only wrong but potentially dangerous? X people are greedy, X people run the banks, X people are the reasons for all of our problems…Do you see where that kind of thinking leads?
        I’m told constantly to shut up and listen. Have you done that? Have you taken the time to truly hear how your words make people feel? How this constant drum beat of negative narratives make people feel?

      • Take what you want from the blog, Tim. If it’s nothing, it’s nothing. Have a good day.

      • And the “ironic” thing is that you and the author are doing precisely what I was just talking about.
        Essentially what I’ve done is stepped into an echo chamber and began shouting in the opposite direction. Sorry I’m not goose stepping along like a good little soldier. That’s part of the actual problem with our world today.

      • Yeah I think I’ve gotten the general lay of the land here, hannahdrake628. There are problems in the world, those are caused by white people, obviously. I wonder what the final solution will be?

      • Please know Tim, I do not write expecting everyone to agree with me. In fact I write knowing a vast majority won’t. I didn’t start writing to gain the approval of men, make friends or to make people feel good. You have stated your comments and I stated mine. There really is nothing else left to say. Whatever you feel will be the final solution in making this world be all that it can be, go do that. If everyone does their part perhaps this world will change. Outside of that, I don’t have anything else to say to you and I have read what you said and unless you have something else to say to me, we can agree to disagree and keep it moving. Your opinion is yours, my opinion is mine and the world keeps turning.

    • Tim you have come into her space and made this all about you. As part of the challenge we are standing our ground and you need to LEAVE!

  9. Oh my goodness! This article gave me so much life! I was mentally screaming, “Yes!!” as I read these situations I identified with. I remembered coming to my own realization that I was cedeing my space and my commitment to not let that happen any more. Thank you. Thank you so much for putting this out there!

  10. This is a good article but from one point of view. The issue isn’t White people and them expecting POC to move – it’s entitled individuals. The author might have experienced it from white individuals more frequently – but that doesn’t mean every white individual feels or acts in that way. There are entitled individuals every where, it was the way they were raised. Yes stand your ground yet be aware, if there is a pregnant women, an elder or someone requires you to move from your seat/out of the way on the sidewalk no matter what colour. Then move. However if there is a group of 5 people walking down the street taking up the side walk, then no don’t move. There is unspoken etiquette, if the individuals don’t understand then let them know. No one learns unless being told or shown. By using your voice in situations such as these goes a long way, you make the individual uncomfortable or aware of what they are doing. They might not even know that are doing it, and could apologize for making you feel uncomfortable. If they’re doing it on purpose then yes stand your ground no matter who you are.

    • Thank you, Lindsey for reading. I find it a sense of entitlement to tell myself and others who have shared their stories, what the issue is because it erases everything we have said and shared. Can you see that?

      Also, I think most people understand when they should move because I already mentioned that in the blog so there was no need to reiterate it and make it about that. I was very clear that wasn’t the topic. I think most people know that and understand about moving to accommodate others out of courtesy often extended for some of those reasons. I left it open because it could be any reason and I didn’t want to just name a few. This blog isn’t about that. And making it about that takes the easy way out. If you read some of the comments you can see it is much bigger than that.

      • Yeah shut up Lindsey! You’re screwing up the narrative, Lindsey! Go through and reread the comments but be sure to ignore the ones that sound like yours.

      • Tim, you can be in this space or not. No one is forcing you to be here. But it appears you want to be in this space and try to fan some imaginary fire. Please stop. You can add to the conversation but not in a way that is combative. You do not need to follow behind me on MY blog to respond to my comments in an attempt to make trouble. I am fine with people disagreeing but what you are doing is trying to be combative for some personal reasons that have nothing to do with me or anyone on this blog. Perhaps step back from the computer and think through that. What you are doing doesn’t help or move the conversation forward.

      • All I am doing is point out that that it isn’t just white individuals who do this. Everyone does this, every race. I’m not discrediting your experiences, your voice or your opinion. Everyone is allowed to form their own opinion based on their experiences. What I am saying, is that it isn’t just white individuals. Actually if you stand to the side and watch there are a lot of individuals who don’t move when they should. It’s not as common as you think, common sense isn’t as common as you would think. It’s about being aware of others, this doesn’t have to do with race it has everything to do with how one is raised. The topic and narrative you are suggesting is that POC shouldn’t move for white individuals who are entitled and expect them to move. Being rude, unaware and entitled are not traits you are born with you learn those from individuals around you. Sharing stories and experiences will help bring light onto situations that need to be addressed. But they also need to include all narratives that pertain to this issue – not just one.

  11. Hannah, I am working this challenge every day in all public spaces I’m in. I’m sitting down to write a blog about it. I’ll share it here in a bit. It’s about awareness.

  12. Actually Hannah, you’re fanning the imaginary fire. Furthermore, you refused to respond to my completely valid criticisms so I’m forced to highlight examples of you doing exactly what I said you were doing. I’m not angry or combative at all. I deal with this crap all the time. I’m actually quite accustomed to it. You don’t get to dictate my speech, though I’m sure you’d like that.

    • Tim, I will no longer be replying to you. You said what you said, I said what I said. There is honestly nothing left for us to say to each other. Have a good day.

  13. Thank you Hannah. I don’t expect that you’ll change, but I expect that people will read this exchange and those are the people that I’m talking to. Or you’ll just delete my comments.

  14. I work in corporate America and every day people are walking all around our huge building to get to and from meetings…etc. I noticed in myself that even when I was walking somewhere completely alone and a group of white men walking the opposite way coming toward me that I would always step all the way in the corner for them to pass they wouldn’t even acknowledge me going all the way to one side of the hall with a simple smile or head nod of thanks. One day there was a group of white men walking toward me, again me alone…i hurried to get to one side of the hall and even stopped because they were walking side by side not appearing to have half of them just briefly step behind someone in their group; the man on the far end (me stopped waiting for them to pass now) bumped right into me! He didn’t even turn around to apologize they all just kept talking like I wasn’t even there. From that day on everytime I see a group of them walking together I just keep walking sometimes right in the middle of them and they look so surprised but I don’t care I’m not making myself little anymore!

  15. Thank you for writing this piece. I love and appreciate the discussions I’ve seen across various social media about a topic as important as this one. As a woman of color (Mexican-American), I can relate. I agree with your point about this carrying into digital space. I myself have found myself, in recent years, with the desire to post/share images, websites, petitions, etc. on topics that are important to me but then second-guessing it because I know that I would offend various White people from my hometown who I am Facebook friends with. So, I don’t post. I just recently realized that I was accommodating MY digital space for THEM. And it brings me tears to my eyes that I feel the need to please THEM instead of speaking out about what matters– rights for immigrants, women, people of color. Until recently, I started to say FUCK THIS. I now post what I want. But they continuously feel the need to comment on every single post they disagree with, entering MY DIGITAL SPACE to prove me wrong as they defend their racist, homophobic, inhumane beliefs. I never made the connections until this summer. And it makes me wonder how many times I PHYSICALLY accommodated a White person.

  16. As a woman of color, I cannot tell you how much I can related to this post. Thank you for putting into words what I have struggled to articulate. At 5’2 and 115 lbs, I take up very little space as is. Yet I find myself making my body as small as possible in public spaces. For example, on the subway, while White men manspread next to me, I make an effort to make my body smaller. I let people lean or press their entire bodies onto the bar while I struggle to find something to hold on to. I’ve reached my tipping point, The other day I was walking on the sidewalk and I came upon a group of White people talking to each other and taking up the entire sidewalk. No one moved as my husband and I approached so I had to step off the sidewalk onto the grass. As I did that, I loudly said, “Yep, feel free to take up the whole sidewalk.” One of the men heard me, and as I walked away, he yelled “Sorry for taking up the sidewalk!” to which i did not respond and kept walking away. Next time I am going to be less passive aggressive, and not move aside and am just going to saying, “Step aside, please. There are other people in occupying this space.”

  17. ok you folks, here goes nothing or something i donno which i do believe in the goodness of people and i betcha a nickle 75% and maybe more of the people who bump into us are unaware, not mean not lookin for ha ha i’m better then you get the heck off the planet. i reckon tho if one feels bumped deliberately, then one Is, it’s the feeling that counts. if one has been conditioned to get off the planet that is the reaction when bumped. if one is considered to be nice and thoughtful and thinking then that is their truth sure sometimes bumping is deliberate whether one color or another. so sad i mean SAD. when i hear of this sort of disrespect my insides weep much worse than tears down my cheeks.sarax

  18. Dostoevsky wrote about this kind of crap over a hundred years ago in Notes from Underground. People being jerks in public spaces isn’t something new. And just like the narrator of that story, it’s solipsistic to think these slights have some social significance. I encourage you to read it, seriously, it’s a funny and profound work.

  19. Wait this is a “challenge”?!?! I do this DAILY 💁🏽‍♀️. With the shoulder bump and all of they don’t move for ME. Why am I sliding over for u???? I divide the sidewalk/hallway/walkway in half and walk on the right side like civilized ppl. If u are on my side… u better scoot! Unless u r an elderly person I’m not moving 😐. Excuse YOU. Tell me I’m wrong

  20. I’ve been aware of this issue for a long while now and always try to be cognizant of it, but a few months ago, I was barreling through a store door in a hurry, not paying attention to anything but the rush that I was in, and then realized that the person coming in the door had taken a step back and was holding the door for me, which brought me back to paying attention, because I realized I had been inadvertently rude. When I saw it was a Black woman holding the door, I was all the more mortified, and said, “I’m so sorry – excuse me! That was rude of me!” and then I thanked her for holding the door open. She smiled then and told me it was OK and that I was welcome. But I wondered as I walked away whether I had been yet one more moment in her day when she had to deal with this kind of nonsense. So, I accept the challenge you issued to White people. I know I can do better. I appreciate the reminder.

  21. So I was in Kroger Sunday. A white employee comes up behind me and my children and says loudly “Ok folks, I need to get by.” 😒 I responded with “‘Excuse me’ will so just fine”. He said nothing and by this time my daughter had already moved the cart. I had to tell her not to do that again and wait for someone to say ‘excuse me before moving. This happens way too much.

  22. I’m not in any way disregarding the experience of POCs with this comment, but do you sometimes feel like it might be more about men v. women than it is about race? I definitely see that there is a correlation with both, I’m just curious your thoughts on the gendered aspect of occupying space without race in the mix.

  23. No because this behavior is pretty common with some white women as well. In this particular case it just so happened to be a man. 🤷🏽‍♀️

  24. I guess I’m a middle aged white Canadian male (36) and I do try my best to be courteous to all. I shave my head for multiple reasons every year or so and get self conscious that people may see me as a skin head, even though I don’t go to the skin. I have a Latin wife and often join in on making fun of white people lol. I don’t ever expect people to give up their spot, or wait until I’m ready to move to get around me. I’m vocal and if I want by I’ll ask. I expect everyone else to do the same. If I’m in your way, tell me, I’ll find a way to move out of your way if I can. Don’t except mediocrity, ask others to get out of your way, if they don’t they’re a shitty person or they better have a really good reason.

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