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 expected 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 to 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

518 replies »

  1. Damn this girl has issues! People are rude – doesn’t matter what color they are. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come across WOMEN who are standing there talking right where people want to pass. These gabby chicks are OBLIVIOUS of anyone else’s needs. If I they’re in my way while I’m trying to get by I just simple say “‘SCUSE MEEEEeee…” as I go, squeezing pass them HAVING TO MAKE PHYSICAL CONTACT WITH THEM (which I don’t like since I’m GAY). When it comes to defending your space, HONEY, it’s not always about RACE, sometimes – more often than not – it’s GENDER.

    • Try taking yourself out of the center and not making you the focus. And just imagine for a moment that the people here that have commented have experienced this. Just pause and not make it solely about you and see if you can expand your thinking that just because it’s not about you doesn’t mean it can’t happen to others. Try it.

      • Keep writing these necessary and thought provoking pieces Queen, you’re well within your rights to let all the facts of your experiences be known.Also most of those who don’t understand probably never did or never will if they can’t look past those those views and beliefs(white privilege/white supremacy etc.) .

      • If you are not a POC don’t speak for us. You’ve been told already. If you are a POC it is s true statement to us. We know how to view the world without the race lens but this is not that kind of dialogue. Step aside, now.

      • Some people will never get it. I’m a 6’3 black man, people don’t try that with me, but I’ve seen it happen to black women. The world wants to look like a black woman, yet hates black women. We as black men (those who are awake) must uplift y’all more.

    • Addison, it appears you’ve failed to actually read what’s written here. Your POV is addressed. “All people are___ regardless of color” is not a valid argument. Respect the writer’s space as a POC to write about her experiences, which are not our experiences and cannot be dismissed by us because we do not live them.

      – also gay white woman

    • My thoughts about black women: She can stand in any space she wishes, simply because the black community has survived and sustained itself only because of this strength in black women.

      The ways superior to that of black men on the whole…. are way too many to count…..but, to put it another way…I trust my Mamma, and I bet you do too!

      Since, the issuance of the Doctrine of Discovery, 1493 AKA “The Papal Bull “Inter Caetera” issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, and the ethnic Europeans enslaved Africans, the black women she used all her strength to forgive us, and to encourage us, and to hide our collective shame,

      She hid our disgusting situation behind every conceivable way she shrugged off the pain and sorrow, she hides all black societies shame, it is buried somewhere in her own dignity….underneath her own pain, and she still does today 2018 on the cusp of 2019

      If we are honest and look at our history, we all know that since plantation slavery, the black women, have had status situated in such a way so as to permit her to risk her life and safety speaking up for our collective. After all, she mammy’ed the slave master’s children spanking them feeding them teaching them.

      And, all the while she was the one asking pleading and demanding he let up off of brother so he could be safe from the white man’s wrath……..

      We all must admit be reminded that we experience things that were of the essence of the unforgivable and the black women she forgives us and encourages us and hides our collective shame in her dignity

      • This is the stupidest thing I have ever read. People being in the way doesn’t have anything to do with race. It’s manners. Social skills.
        Advocate for yourself in this world full of clueless people. Someone is in your way, say excuse me. You want someone to move, ask them. You have to be trying really freaking hard to scream racism to find something like where someone is standing offensive because your not white. You think the man didn’t move because the woman behind him who he didn’t even see was black?

    • I’m a white 55 female baby boomer. I must say I disagree to a certain extent, because I can’t talk for all people. I’ve seen discrimination. When I was at fort Jackson, South Carolina. I killed a spider, a black widow & got attacked because some girl thought I shouldn’t have done it. The next thing I knew I had alit of people on my ass, who wanted to beat the shit out of me. I said, “ what’s all wrong with you people”, with no derogatory meaning at all. Then the “who you calling “people” came out. I didn’t even understand what she was talking about, the “you” people was the “gang” attacking me. Yeah, that was messed upped. Took me years to figure it out. No lie. Ya know, don’t throw everyone in a box, cuz we all don’t live in one. I’m not going to make this long. But I tell you this, I don’t know my history, my grandparents were slaves/prisoners in WW1. Forced into marriage & escaped. That’s all I know. So ya see, I don’t know my roots either. Don’t throw all white people in the same category, as with all people, there are good & bad. I’m not lessening slavery, or those righteous assholes out there. But you can’t pin the blame. We’re all to blame! All colors. They all did it, people of every color, with the perhaps the exception (questionable) of natives have done wrong! To each other. Instead of concentrating on being angry and tacking a stand we need to unite and over come the past. That is moving forward. Not hatred. That’s what I got. People that hang onto hate, will only be sad. But to over come the lessens in the past, will bring love & kindness.

    • Hummmmmm.
      Yeah I admit I do concede. Often. But it’s mostly out of, I’m a big guy, thoughtful, considerate, super aware of my surroundings, as blacks we have to be. So I ask myself am I conceding because they are White? Are they being the way they are expecting us or anyone to concede as a result of ownership of whatever space they are in? Privilege. Do they are they even aware of it? Maybe 90% do not. Now I question myself. And am more assertive. Taking my space and demanding it for others as well.

      • We do this so often sometimes it’s difficult to realize that we are doing it. Once you notice it you will always notice it. Hold your space! You are here and you belong here.

    • we will never overcome the issue as long as we are in DENIAL!!! It is really real, she has a powerful point yet some deny it….typical

    • Hi Addison,

      I’ve read this article several times and done my best to soul search. In fact, this challenge that the writer proposes has woven itself in to my daily life now. I have considered myself as liberal as they come and “the least racist person you could meet”, yet this specific challenge has pointed me to uncover my UNCONSCIOUS biases I hold within myself and it’s not always easy to look at. I’ve seen the ways I avoided making eye contact with black people, how sometimes I’ve moved IN to their space just by some weird habit and it’s not an easy one to look at but I am looking at it. Not people in general, but black people. The reasons why to me (although I’ve explored that) are less important to me than changing my behavior. I’ve learned in my marriage that it’s important to truly listen to what my husband is saying in order to find conflict resolution and become closer. I’ve learned by listening to what black people are saying about their experience that it IS their experience and it’s valid to them even though I may not experience or understand it. I’ve also learned by listening to my gay brother’s experience in the world that he has unique challenges that are valid that I could never fully appreciate. If your experience is that women don’t move for you in space, that would be a valid blog post on its own, but it doesn’t invalidate what Hannah’s experience is here (and hundreds of readers who have validated it). It’s very hard when you are trying to make a point and someone counters immediately with “wait, but what about ME?” in ANY sharing. It stings and it happens constantly to black people like what’s happened here. I think the best thing any of us can do, vs trying to counter Hannah’s sharing of her personal experience here, is to take the challenge. It was very eye opening to me and I’m just beginning to change the way I am in the world after reading this months ago. And I intend to keep doing it because combating racism is important to me..and like most things, it begins with me.

      • Thank you. Some act as if the thousands of people that have read this and validated this blog all got together to make something up to hold it against White people. It is far to easy for some to “what about me” themselves out of this blog or not look at the blog as a whole. That’s the hard part and I know it’s difficult. If people as you said, would take the time to do the challenge they just might be surprised. Once you see it you can never “unsee” it.

    • This ain’t about u Becky. Being gay and being a black woman is not the same. Stop trying to play the victim and do some soul searching bc this white woman is telling u that YOU ARE RACIST!
      Get over your salty ass tears.

    • Race and gender intersect when both factors are in play. How does somebody who is Black, and a woman know which of their protected characteristics a person has chosen to be offended by? Yes, women face oppression; but, that oppression is heightened for Black women. That’s a fact proven in academia and anecdotally. Ain’t I A Woman by Bell Hooks is an insightful read on the subject, should you care to check it out.

    • Addison DeWitt clearly you forgot the part when say excuse me YOU WAIT for them to move. Don’t nobody owe you anything. Treat people how you want to be treated and maybe you can find less of a problem with what was said.

    • I live in Toronto, inpilute Canada, where thereare no racism. Didnt you know? And while Toronto is supposedly, statiscally, one of the most diverse cities in the world, e everyday I face similar challenges.
      Most recently, I’ve taken to carrying a big bag which stratigically place on the inside of my body and the sidewalk.

      I’m about 5’3″ 117 lbs so not a big person, however, Ifind myself constantly challenge as I navigate this city each day. I ve watched other black woman acquiesce their space out of expectation that they should without given much thought to the concept

      But I find it mind blowing and a further assault on my dignity, that I’m to move over and make way. How is that even real. In order for me to that I would have to believe that I’m less than. That’s not a debate for me. I too am oblivious to you. I see you and I know that you see me. I’m not defined by what you think about me. If you think that I’m rude because I expect you to share the sidewalk, so be it.

      Just recently in uptown Toronto, a nicely put together blond woman was incensed as she huffed and puffed her way passed my big bag. I have never asked for permission to exist and I’m not going to start now.

  2. Another race baiting article written by a POC. How about y’all just be nice to people, say “excuse me” when you need to get by someone or “thank you” when someone holds a door open for you? I’m ashamed to be black because of how inconsiderate black men and women are, how rude black men and women are, how only accounting for 13% of the population… 52% of all violent crimes.

  3. There was actually a study on this and before I commented I looked for it but can’t find it, its out there though, really, I read it with interest and immediately changed my posture on this. I don’t know what I did before, but now, I yield to no one but people with infants in arms and the disabled. The study said something like this: white men are more likely to yield to white women than anyone else, other white men and then black women. Black men get yielded to rarely. White women don’t yield to anyone, not even other white women! Black women yield to Black women, white people in general and Black men. I find airport traffic most interesting. People walking toward me on my right will literally try to walk through me because I will not move to the left to let them pass. I’m female tall and steady. I see them coming and I may have to stop and brace myself (I’m also 60+), but I will lean in, shoulder first… but rarely do we make contact and off they go to my left maybe with a brush and a quick “sorry” and I hope they will hear me say not “no worries” but “you are excused.”

    • You realise that most countries walk/drive on the left hand side, right? These people at the airport aren’t being rude; they’re walking how they normally walk. You’re the jerk in this situation.

      • She said the sign says with side is standing and which side is walking so in this situation, the guy who stayed put in the walking lane is in the wrong.

    • Yes Queen Arlene! I’ve been doing this for years. Sometimes I add an elbow, if they are being particularly rude.

    • I’m a white woman, raised in southern Virginia, and I take special pleasure in making space for people of color, especially the sidewalk thing. I noticed it as a child and thought it was horrible.

      As an adult, I will step into the street (or grass) and sweep my hand in a gesture encouraging the poc to pass freely.

      I’ve never had anyone comment about it. I dont know if maybe they think I’m being sarcastic or something maybe?

      Anyway, *I* know my intentions are positive.

    • “White women don’t yield to anyone, not even other white women!” That’s absurd. I’m a white woman and I yield to other people all the time. I see other white women doing it, too. That study sounds like bullshit.

      • I’m a white women and no white women do not yield to me. I’ve noticed it before this article and have seen this all over the world. It’s extremely annoying. It would be the exception for a white women to yield to me so I would assume it’s even worse for POC.

    • I would love to read the study you spoke of. My first reaction was one of anger, when I realized what was happening. In this phase of my life, it’s become a moot point, but I can still see how irritating it is. I’m more likely to be perturbed by the students I work with who act as if they have no manners and will walk right between two people talking, as if they are not even there. That’s frustrating and I have to check them on it regularly. Of course, these students look just like me, so I don’t think of race in these situations. I do think of ignorant behavior and try to educate them about rules of etiquette. Some other comments I read on this thread try to ascribe this phenomenon to gender, instead of race. This is pattern has been documented historically when White people encounter Black people on the street to the point where we were forced to get off the sidewalks, boardwalks, etc. and walk through the ankle deep mud. Maybe some people equate women with Black folks and give them the same treatment. That could be possible, but that’s not where the pattern started. Typically, White women, in particular have always been given deference in situations like that, to the point where men would go so far as to lift them off the ground and carry them over the mud, as opposed to forcing them to walk through the mud.

  4. This is ridiculous in my opinion. Who’s to say the man who didn’t move was just simply unaware that anyone was behind him? Maybe he is hard hearing, but to assume it’s about race when he clearly didn’t even look behind him is absurd. If the woman ASKED him to move, who’s to say he wouldn’t have. The guy at the counter, did he ask her to move over? No, she just assumed and was paranoid he was expecting her to move because she was black and he’s white. There is no hard evidence that would suggest racism here but simply assumptions. If they would have said, “I have the right to occupy this space because I’m white!” Ok now we have something to go on. I’ve experienced rudeness and a lack of courtesy from all colors. Some people expect things to go a certain way, but news flash, we all think differently about certain situations. You can’t judge a person who fails to conform to your standard of thinking. The people in her story never said anything to her but I guess she’s just an excellent mind reader.

      • I never cede my space to ANYONE when I walk in my city!!! exceptions are persons needing a device to walk and the elderly. I will literally bump you and you better be ready to catch yourself lol. Not being a jerk, just that I’ve earned my way!!!

      • Well you know I think Brittany has a point here. How did she know he wasn’t maybe delaying getting his salt because he was trying to get up his nerve to sit with her and strike up a conversation? Like, because he was attracted to her, or just fancied company at lunch or something? And then if she just blanked him, he’d have felt uncomfortable and moved away, as described. That seems much likelier to me, because why would even the most racist person deliberately go and monster someone when the whole counter was available to him?

    • Hard of hearing?! Because reading a sign requires your hearing? Or, maybe he is just obnoxious and felt entitled to stand in the middle of the walkway where on the opposite side Im sure he sure people passing others. Why cant we assume that people are aware to what they do? Why can’t folks be called out for their bull? Why is it so hard for you to understand the point of view this blog was centered in? Do you feel entitled to telling someone how they feel? Do you think it’s appropriate to dismiss someone’s experience because you can’t relate? Or, do your use comparative superiority for all arguments?

    • I think the point was that he felt entitled to occupy space blocking others because of who he was not who he might be blocking. The world revolved around him.

  5. Thanks, this article is great. I have often noticed being expected to move from my space. It is usually from older white women, not men. That is my experience anyway. They never expect that I will NOT move.

  6. Seems that almost no one who commented on this article, understands what they read. This not about rudeness, or etiquette, or manners. This is about white privilege, entitlement, and the way that black people, and people of color are expected to move/not move in this world. I get it. I’ve seen it, experienced it, witnessed it. It exists. As a black woman, halfway past 60 yrs old, I grew up watching it. Thank u for this article. So necessary.

    • Thank you very much. This article has went viral and I have learned just as you stated either people have directly experienced this or their is a group of people that want to believe this doesn’t happen. The people that acknowledge this happens far outweigh those who don’t believe. However when the world bends to you, it is easy to believe this all “made up.” Thank you for reading. Hold your space!

  7. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and your bold challenge.
    It’s wild to me that some people in the comments automatically take offense and aren’t able to see this situation from a bird’s eye view. Like, for those defending the white man on the moving walkway and saying he’s not a racist: you’re absolutely right. We can’t know whether his intent was malicious or race-based. But that’s not what the story was about. The story was about the man’s arrogance and impoliteness. How he was not going to let anyone past him because he as a white man has a culturally permissible ability to take up space and not think about other people who might want to walk past him, regardless of who they are. Whether he was American or from somewhere else, he should have been standing to one side of the walkway, not in the middle. It was also about how the writer, a black woman, has internalized these prevalent attitudes of white men and how she has adapted her behavior in order to preserve the status quo.
    The writer did not insinuate that the slight was specifically targeted towards her because of her blackness. Like the woman in the Twitter thread who says, “You’ve named me racist,” although Drake is never shown to have called her that, readers who couldn’t stop themselves from taking personal offense failed to see that this article is not only an accusation of privileged people, calling out their behavior, but it is primarily a letter to POC or other people who have to “move off the sidewalk,” encouraging them not to cede to the expectation that they will remove their bodies from the paths of white people.
    As someone who regularly “moves off the sidewalk” for, say, a group of two or three people coming from the opposite direction, I’m not being polite, I’m being subordinated, and I know this because when I am in a group of multiple people and there is someone trying to get by us from the opposite direction, I will move behind or in front of my friends, so that we all stay on the sidewalk and pass each other. That, to me, is a gesture of politeness and respect, so I must wonder why the same gesture is almost never show to me.

    • Thank you for this article! I see this all the time and frequently move behind my group to make room for people walking in the opposite direction. Not simply because I feel that I’m required to but, as one commenter stated, out of politeness and respect. I’ve taught this to my boys as well. But I have noticed that white women walking side by side will not move or fall single file,even when they have seen me trying to wrangle my child to walk in front or behind me. I’m a Pacific Islander with interracial children and have had to verbally address a white women for walking straight through my young son at the time. She did not excuse herself, there was no apology and my choice words used towards her were met with shock even though she physically touched and ran over a 7yo little boy. I have noticed in a crowded area where walkways are tight, that this is where white people in general will congregate to chat with no regard to their surroundings. Meanwhile, my very large extended family will move to a corner out of the way to figure out our plans as group. It’s extremely frustrating and I have now resulted to either standing completely still until they move on their own before proceeding or just keep walking my path with the same lack of regard that they were even there. My husband is from Trinidad and a solid 6’2″ guy so it is natural for him to have people clear a path! I just walk right beside him!

    • You nailed it!!!!
      Me personally noticed this years ago and decided I would never cede unless they were elderly or physically unable.

  8. I really appreciate this article. I think that whenever anyone helps others to understand their perspective, all boats are lifted. I have witnessed this phenomenon and appreciate everyone’s efforts to hold their space. After I read the blog, my consciousness was raised. I saw people of color being dis/spaced by white people in my own town. Further, I am a portly gay white man and at a recent gathering of support for LGBT pride, I was bumped, pushed, sighed at, and had eyes rolled at me for holding my space. I say this not to diminish the phenomenon for people of color, but to support the author’s call for holding one’s space. Thank you for this truth.

  9. I completely understand what is written. I move for no one, often taking shoulders with me of those who chose to walk left or in the middle. White people are usually scared of black men, except when in groups, so when they see I’m not moving from the correct space, they move when alone. White women are the worst though. Especially when they are walking in groups of 2 or more. It’s like they don’t recognize they are taking up the entire walking space and moving closer to or behind one of their friends, for me, is beneath them. I don’t mind knocking a shoulder out of place though.

    • Interesting observations. I’m an older white women and I’m very sorry I can’t presently try your experiment as I’m pretty socially isolated. Maybe I’ll check it out in Walmart though, I go there. I have just in the last two years or so started feeling how it is to be invisable sometimes, a complaint women of age (probably any color unless they are wearing the hijab) complain of. Sales people, waitresses, people on the street don’t see or hear us. It can be an advantage sometimes, mostly it’s just frustrating. Your article makes me wonder if at least SOME of this is some of my privilege expiring as I move into a new demographic??? I’ve never been a pusher, more back of the room because of my height and shyness, but I can stand my ground if I get my back up. I am sorry that this has been your experience and to the extent you describe!! I will check myself, and if I need to, correct myself. I won’t be the guy in the Chinese restaurant if I e been him, either!

      • I appreciate your willingness to be more aware and if we all were open to growth, this country would not be in it’s current predicament.

  10. This is so interesting,I never thought about it being a thing.This journey will be an eye opener.Thank you for writing on it.

  11. Thanks for this article. I’m not a women of colour but even as a white woman I feel that I often have to cede my space so I can only imagine how much worse it is for POC. Walking down the street I used to always shuffle to the side, move out of the way when people (usually white men ) were barreling through. I started to realise that I was giving up my space because I was a woman and it was expected, not because I was being more polite. So I started standing up for my space and challenging those who were not ‘sharing’ space. It has made a big difference and has increased my confidence. I’m not rude but I no longer assume that I have to be the first to always give way. I recognize that even though I’m a woman I have privilege that many POC do not. Which means this is definitely something we need to stand up and notice. So thank you.

  12. I’ve witnessed this on various occassions and I associate these behaviors with white privilege; however, it’s contingent upon various factors. A white person’s socioeconomic background genuinely alters whether they display this type of behavior. White people who are intelligent & or socially aware tend to be cognizant of their interactions with others & are more respectful as a whole. I also acknowledge most millenials (black & white) are obnoxious, so they need to be excluded as they struggle with self-image etc…thus altering their perception & behavior. The most dangerous group is ourselves. I’ve acknowledged the behavior of black people who are not used to multi-racial or predominantly white environments. As much as white people struggle to acknowlede racism & privilege a lot of us fail to acknowledge our interactions in these environments and their need to change. Most of our behavior is a response to racism & privilege but that doesn’t negate our responsibility to change it. Some black people cede because they’re out of their comfort zone in a predominantly white or multi-racial area. Some cede because they have low self esteem from weight, victimization and various other things but then this doesn’t correlate with race because a white rape victim or obese person would do the same. Yesterday I experienced privilege multiple times in a short duration of time because of where I was so I am by no means taking away from our plight but I do acknowledge this song & dance isn’t always about privilege or racism. Some people aren’t aware, some people are, some are racist & some are plain old stupid…

    • I like the nuance in your response. I commented earlier on how I’ve been oblivious to this. Partly because of my privilege (white male) partly because I walk fast and tend to cede space to everybody. I’ve wondered about all the different variables that go into this, but it does seem harder form me to measure because of the above reasons. That makes your comment super valuable to me. It makes sense to me that there are all these other variables at play. (I’ve been wondering how much location plays a part in this.) At the same time, it brings me a new level of awareness hearing your thoughts (and other people’s thoughts and experiences) on Poc feeling intimidated in predominantly white and/or multicultural settings. It makes me sad, but is an important thing to understand. With less understanding, the notion of standing ones ground by not ceding space in public areas could seem trivial or even rude to me. Having a greater understanding of what people have to deal with, the feelings they have to overcome, and how my privilege has kept me from having to deal with the same problems, makes me better understand the nuance and importance of this issue of not ceding space when it is unjust.
      Thanks for your comment!

    • Yes, some people are just rude. White or POC. I think some white people think they are privileged, but so do some POC.
      How about we all just be nice to each other. I tend to move out of people’s way as a courtesy, BUT…if someone is looking like they think they are better than me, I WILL say something. I don’t care what their color is.

  13. Today i (white guy) was out for a run. I was running along the side walk and at some point there were two black kids walking my way. So I scooted as far to the right as I could on the sidewalk bc of course thats just what you do. Neither of the kids budged to give me space and I had to stop and hop around them. One of the kids yelled something at me but I didn’t catch what he said. It wasn’t something nice. This is now the third time this has happened to me in this city. Happened once in a prior city. Even worse, THREE completely different times in that other city a black kid would wait till I got close and then yell to scare me and laugh to himself as he kept on walking (actually one time he, two times she). I’ve light heartedly wondered if there’s some memo going around that says “mess with white runners”. Otherwise how could these completely different kids all know to do the same thing. I spent the rest of today’s run trying not to get too mad about it. Googled “black kid not making space on sidewalk” to finally find out if this is, like, a thing. Found this blog. Yeah I guess it’s a thing. And you even encourage it as a form of empowerment. Sucks a lot. Everybody loses. The answer to your experiences with racism isn’t revenge and it isn’t profiling.

      • Ah, thanks for the reply. I’m amazed that this thread has lasted a whole year. And I must admit, I’m feeling like i shouldn’t have waded into an online discussion on race. Oh well, too late I guess…

        Yes of course it bothered me to have to move for the kids today and to get scared by the kids the other times. Race doesn’t matter, it’s just mean. Like a form of bullying.

        maybe you’d tell me that I’ve learned from this experience and now I understand the perspective of the POC. Not really. Or maybe in some twisted way that poisons the well. No offense, but this experiment you proposed serves only for internalization. Without dialogue all it is is people being mean to each other. Whenever you don’t cede your space, especially in an obvious way, do you then catch up to the person to have a conversation? Otherwise all you may have done is confuse someone and hurt their feelings. For example, a guy like me – liberal yankee immigrant native Spanish speaker who is white – I’m already 100% there on racial inequality. So when this happens while I’m out running it just leaves me fighting internally for 10miles to not give up on that mindset. Because it’s bullying and it’s happened 7 times already. So maybe those kids felt like big men, but with me all they did was make me feel bad. I didn’t learn any lesson. For someone else, they could tip the scales and lose that person who would otherwise have had their back. And for someone else, they could risk tipping them toward hatred if they were susceptible to that.

        This experiment of yours – you’re signing people up for it without their consent. They can’t opt out and they can’t opt in. it serves no greater purpose.

        And you can see how it can get out of hand. What might start as “hold your space” can turn into “let me wait until this white runner guy gets really close and then scream at his face and laugh, haha that’ll show him”

        All that said, I’m of course not denying or downplaying the problem of racism and how it can lead to the situations you described. I did suspect that what I experienced was a reaction to systematic racism. that’s how I rationalized it after the fact, including today before deciding to finally do the google search.

      • I don’t know what happened to you today. You are attempting to find a way to rationalize why kids would be yelling at you through this article. That is a huge leap. Did they yell, “we aren’t moving because we read an article online!”

      • Also note you said it bothered you to move. Why? Why are they expected to move in your mind?

      • I think there are two things going on here – and I am only hesitantly wading in here:
        There were two kids abreast on the sidewalk … the polite thing to do when walking abreast and someone else is coming, is to go single file instead, isn’t it? I suspect that would be what bothered the runner.

        Also, the being shouted at seems like such a teenage thing to go, regardless of race… hey, here comes a runner, let’s make him/her jump out of his/her skin. High schoolers are ridiculous and remarkably thoughtless.

      • I’m a little confused by your response, here. He did move over to the edge of the sidewalk to accommodate them and didn’t have a problem doing so, but it seems the kids walking two abreast felt they shouldn’t have to accommodate anyone passing in the other direction. Would it not be incumbent on both parties to make a little space when passing by each other?

    • Looks like they are not going to cede their space to you. Good for them. It is what it is. I suppose you don’t like the feeling it gave you. Now imagine that being a reason you were beat, raped, hanged or just terrorized every day. That’s how POC feel and have felt for decades. I have the office experiences mentioned in the blog happen several times over. It’s doesn’t feel good but thank goodness she has spoken on it! Just excuse yourself and move on. Thanks, white guy.

    • They didn’t make space for you because they’re just as racist as they accuse white people of being.

    • I bet if those were white teenagers they’d be age-appropriately annoying (like teens tend to be to grown folk) but that’s all. There wouldn’t be all of this sturm und drang from you about them not moving.

  14. Great article. I’m from the Caribbean and dated an African American. We were walking along the sidewalk and a white couple walked toward us. He grabbed my elbow and took me off the sidewalk onto the street accommodating the white couple. I ruined the date for me; I was furious. In my mind, this was never an option. We could have single filed past each other or they could have moved onto the road if they so chose; I should never have been placed in potential jeopardy in establishing white superiority. Pisses me off to this day.

  15. White girl here: So I did the experiment and came to the conclusion that I am just a chicken. I cede to everyone, even stepping into the street to do it. It could be because I’m fat and really self conscious about the space I’m “allowed” to take up. I did also, however, pay attention to others around me – and, yeah, the bulk of white people don’t cede space and the bulk of POC do, in both cases some with attitude, some not – attitude seemed to vary with the age. Teenagers were the most clueless, middle aged people had the most attitude. People (of all colors) tended to cede to the elderly, not so much to the disabled (unless they were also elderly). Thank you for this post.

    • You’re welcome, Kelley. Once you see it, you cannot “unsee” it and I appreciate that you took the time to do this challenge.

  16. Yes, love this! I am a 20 something tall black man and I deal with this on the daily. I used to struggle with walking in to grocery stores or restaurants because I felt as if I were making a disruption just by mere presence. I use to immediately walk in and wave or nod my head as if to say “I come in peace” but I sat back and watched how freely young white guys my age just don’t give a crap, so I made the effort to not care anymore. I believe that some white people use that ridiculous notion that “we’ve come so far since racism, it doesn’t exist anymore” as a cloak for their own inherit racism. They believe that just because we can technically “go anywhere” that we are actually being welcomed in those spaces and they are blind to the difference in treatment. They think because there’s no more “whites only” signs that the spirit of that is dead. They think the reason that most of America’s private and top schools are perdominately white is simply because blacks can’t afford it and they ignore the history that made sure we couldn’t. That white man knew exactly what he was doing. He thought sure she has the right to eat here but she’s in my way. Glad you stood your ground.

  17. so why do a majority of blacks vote for the very political party(D) that never wanted slavery to end, including jim crows laws, kkk. and it fact recreated the same environment that was prevalent on the plantation. fear,crime and hopelessness. maybe you should look into who margret sanger is. when you know what i know it is like your discussing the head ache instead of the heart attack. liberal policies have destroyed the black family. liberal policies have destroyed the inner cities and that has nothing to do with race. liberal policies have destroyed anything they come in contact with. do you have any proposals that could begin to end the carnage of destruction besides maybe holding your ground on the side walk.

    • Yah, just one. Impeach Trump. Or, at least vote him out next go around. I never cared much for party politics just vote for the person I think will serve my country best.

  18. Thank you so much! I live in Chicago. As a Mexican and Native American man, I can completely attest to this. I see people walking in a chain in front of me and they look back and still refuse to move or make room even though they see me hurrying to walk past them. This is mostly white people and I am glad other POC are bring this to issue especially woman POC. Unfortunately, I find myself stepping off sidewalks and on to streets too often. I really hope I don’t get hit by a car one day. Please don’t be this person. Also, be aware of your surroundings if you’re sporting a Cadillac-sized baby stroller.

    The story about the black women on the walkway in the airport really hit close to home. We live in an environment where its become normalized for white people to rash out in racist tirades at POC. This is why we sometimes don’t ask you to move, it is because we LITERALLY fear for our lives.

  19. Reading this article – I came here from another article on Medium entitled “From Toni Morrison’s Writing to Physical Encounters Whiteness Needs to Stop Feeling Entitled to Every Space” and read through the responses. This brings up SO much for me…I’m not your average girl – Black, nearly 6 feet tall, broad-shouldered, full-figured. I’m now 56 years old and I can remember the many times I’ve moved to avoid running into people on the sidewalk.

    Now, I square my shoulders, look you in the eye, and keep on walking. Especially if I’m walking on ONE SIDE of the sidewalk.I’m not going to shrink into myself, make myself smaller, because someone else decides to take up more than their share of the space.

    I find it curious and head-scratching that when I’m out walking my dog – a rescued Greyhound without an aggressive bone in his body – I often have to tell people to move over on the sidewalk as we walk toward them. I put the dog to the left of me, I’m on the left side of the sidewalk, and people are able to pass to the right of me easily. If my furbaby decides to snap at the person going by (he’s NEVER done this, but I’d rather be careful) he has to cross MY body to get to the other person, thereby giving me time to correct him (and protect them).

    SOME people – mostly white people – I have to actually SAY something or use hand gestures to tell them to move over. WHY would you want to walk on the same side of the sidewalk, in CLOSE proximity to a strange dog? You don’t KNOW what might happen…be safe and keep your distance. I WILL speak up and I WILL challenge you if you get too close.

    Maybe it has come with age, but I will “hold my ground,” and I’m just big enough that most people CAN’T move me if I don’t want to be moved. I am committed to my weight training, partly for that very reason. If someone walking toward me is not paying attention, I speak up: “Heads up” or “Excuse YOU” – that last one gets their attention quickly. It also seems people are more willing to move for the dog than for a fellow human being.

    You might be cautious of the dog, but quite frankly, I am more likely to bite you if you start some mess…

  20. Hi, I loved the article. I too myself have experienced a time when I was walking down the street and a white man expected me to move so that he can walk and talk to his friend that was by his side instead of walking behind his friend (since I was on the right side of the street, and he’s not supposed to be walking down the right side anyway. He was supposed to be behind his friend). I stiffened my shoulder and he walked right into it, then had the nerve to tell ME to watch where I’M going! He got hit by my hard shoulder AND he got called a moron by yours truly. 🙂

  21. Being this post was made a year ago I have to admit I have seen many non budging people of all colors and creeds.
    People refusing to move to the right lane when traffic is backed up behind them; two people coming towards me on a sidewalk, taking up the whole sidewalk and refusing to go single file so I can pass. Let’s just make ourselves ruder and unyielding and I’m sure PEACE will reign I pray for manners, consideration, and understanding for all….

    https://youtu.be/dZmZzGxGpSs

  22. My grandmother told me a story before she passed about how her and her sisters had to step off the sidewalk every time a white person walked up. That story always stuck with me and since then I never move when white folks start white folkin in these streets. I stand firm and even push them out my space if need be.

  23. This isn’t a problem I have ever had. As a matter of fact to me it’s simply about standing up for myself. I just had a situation come to a head at work about two weeks ago. There’s a white lady that works on the floor above me. She comes up one floor to take her break in our Employee Lounge. Every day I go in she’s spread across the entire couch. I asked her to move her feet so I could sit. She acted like she didn’t want to but moved them. The next day I came in she had ber feet propped up on the table. I wasn’t sitting anywhere else so I told her to move her feet. She ignored me. I asked her, “So you’re not going to move your feet?” She looked me in my face and said “No.” So I snatched the entire table from under her feet. She got up and left, I enjoyed the rest of my break. It’s find to hold your position but one day someone will try you and you will have to defend it. 😘

  24. Great artlicle and I do relate to it.

    I’m a black woman in her 50s, and I can recall an experience when I was unjustly expected to cede my space, to a white woman, while crossing a road but refused to do so. I state here that I automatically cede to the: elderly, disabled, mothers with prams and young children (they’re all over the place due to undeveloped co-ordination).

    The encounter happened when I was crossing a road, and opposite on the other side about 4 metres away to my right, was a white women also crossing the road. We both proceeded to cross the road, when the traffic light indicated we could do so. I started to walk directly across the road. but the white woman, on the other side, proceeded to walk across the road diagonally (instead of going straight) which would have caused me to stop in the middle of the road for her to cross. To prevent a collision, (as she was not prepared to give way), I had to raise my arm and move her aside so that I could continue to cross the road. She just expected me to stop in the middle of the road to make way for her. I thought at that time what made her think she had the right to do this, particularly as she was the one encroaching another’s space, but she seemed to think she had the authority to do this. She could have just walked directly across the road. What’s driving this kind behaviour is a sense of entitlement and misplaced superiority!

    • Thank you for sharing. Based off your comments I have another article I am posting tomorrow that I think you will LOVE!

  25. Great article and someting that I can relate to.

    I’m a black woman in her 50s, and I can recall an experience when I was unjustly expected to cede my space, to a white woman, while crossing a road but refused to do so. I state here that I automatically cede to the: elderly, disabled, mothers with prams and young children (they’re all over the place due to undeveloped co-ordination).

    The encounter happened when I was crossing a road, and opposite on the other side about 4 metres away to my right, was a white woman also crossing the road. We both proceeded to cross the road, when the traffic light indicated we could do so. I started to walk directly across the road. but the white woman, on the other side, proceeded to walk across the road diagonally (instead of going straight) which would have caused me to stop in the middle of the road for her to cross. To prevent a collision, (as she was not prepared to give way), I had to raise my arm in front of me so that I could continue to cross the road. She just expected me to stop in the middle of the road to make way for her. I thought at that time what made her think she had the right and the authority to do this. She could have just walked directly across the road. What’s driving this kind behaviour is a sense of entitlement and misplaced superiority!

  26. The irony… As I’m reading this article a white man approaches me and asks am I using the whole bench I’m sitting on!! I can’t make this up! My daughter’s bag and her friend’s bag is in the space next to me! They walked off to use the restroom. When I asked if he wanted to sit he didn’t respond. He just walked away.

    • Can’t make it up. And why not respond even though you were polite to ask him would he like to sit and he just walks off. I’m glad you held your space.

  27. It’s astounding that anyone thinks this behaviour is okay, just because they’ve decided something is racism with no proof! You think white people aren’t pushed in front of in queues, barged past on the pavement or generally treated like we don’t exist by black people? If you think that doesn’t happen, then you haven’t read all the comments on the whole #holdyourspace bullsh*t. Look at you all, “I won’t move for white people”, “I will shove white people out of the way”, “evil whites, poor blacks”, it’s pathetic and it makes it look as if you don’t know how to be a decent human being. Here’s the deal; there are racists out there, yes. But there are way more rude people, people who are miles away thinking about their lives and people who are stressed and distracted who don’t even notice you coming towards them. And guess what? Now that we KNOW you do this, what are a lot of us going to do? HOLD OUR SPACE! I’ve seen it, don’t think we’re stupid, we know when black people have an attitude towards us, I can see you glare at me as you puff yourself up and walk straight for me. Two can play at that game though. Whitey can be petty too! Enjoy the collision.

  28. Thanks for the article and your straight-to-the-heart replies to those who tresspass here. To the skeptics, I say yes unbelievers…this is a thing. White people do this to us if we let them–especially when they think they have the home court advantage. @hannahdrake628 Seems like I’ve been doing the challenge for about 50 years now…lol. I just never entertained the idea that I should give way since I’m a fabulous Black Woman. ANd I know everybody else knows: when a queen passes by, step aside and bow down, so don’t even try it. Doesn’t matter whose part of town it is. For me, it comes down to knowing your worth and commanding the respect you deserve (in my case as a woman, an elder and an African). I remember once a long time ago, I decided to walk to the market with my daughter (we were living in lily white Marin County, CA) and it was so blatantly obvious, even to a 5 year old at the time, that EVERY person we crossed paths with took up the entire space and expected their domain to go unchallenged: that we were to go around. Then, my daughter watched ancestral pride become a force palpable enough to carve a walking path for us without ever having to re-route our steps, bump shoulders or utter a sheepish, apologetic, “excuse me”. When the shopping was done, she turned to me in awe and said, “Man, Momma. That was something! You don’t move for anybody, do you? They all move for you!” And that’s how my daughter learned to hold her space. More importantly, she learned that she’s the one who defines what is acceptable behavior towards her from others–not the other way around. Now, in a perfect world I shouldn’t’ve had to do this. But, what parent wouldn’t safeguard their child’s confident self-image; their psycological well-being and sense of self-worth?

  29. OMG I THOUGHT I WAS GOING CRAZY. This happens to me EVERY FUCKING DAY!!!! I started practicing this before but discovered this refreshing article. THANK YOU!!!!! ❤️

  30. I’m so glad I came across this post. As a Mexican-American woman, I have experienced this so many times in my life. I was afraid that if I said it out loud, people would think I was making it up or delusional. Sometimes I would even question whether I was being too sensitive when people would expect me to move off of sidewalks for them to pass even though they had plenty of room to move over, or when people would literally walk right into me in wide open spaces.

  31. I travel frequently and am VERY aware of this and notice it often. I actually comment to others all the time and I REFUSE TO MOVE. Ummm no, not doing it. I see it most glaring in the simple act of walking down the the sidewalk. You see me, I see you. We both know each is going to have to be courteous in order to go past each other. If they hedge, so do I. If you act like you’re going to try and walk through me – “Houston we have a problem.” In those instances I just stop and stand and then they have to intentionally move around me.

    • Once we realize, what scientists now admit, that dark matter makes up most of the material the universe is made of, we’ll no longer need to engage in these kinds of activities. We need to spend more time examining our own Blackness and less time worrying about the minute specks of white dust floating in our space.

  32. Every human has colour. Some black, some white, some red, whatever. So ,literally every people of every race is “people of colour”

  33. Being an individual of (autumn-blush to gilded-glamour) color, I’ve lived my life on all sides of color-line, and have experienced similar clueless rudeness among all colors (though I didn’t tabulate it to discover which was more). But I’m glad to say that MOSTLY, I experience polite consideration among all colors.
    I do find it entertaining when I am on a walkway which can accommodate two people walking abreast, and walking towards me are two people walking abreast making no adjustments in their positions while walking at me. In such instances I just stop and wait for them to adjust and move around me single file. Got to say though, that I have experience that with all colors of people.

  34. I NEVER cede my space to White people. I am 6′ tall 235 lbs. When White people try and occupy a space I am in/using I look them directly in the eye until they drop their gaze

  35. So, I know exactly what you’re doing and I don’t believe you’re aware of it. You’re trying to draw parallels to race so you can confirm your unconscious bias against white people. You need to feel vindicated in your belief that white people hate you. If that’s not the case, let me explain to you how things work in majority African American cities. I.e.(Atlanta.) I ride public transit everyday and it seems like almost everyday no matter where I’m standing on a platform further ahead, further behind, away from the thorofare, someone of African American decent has to pass by me within breathing space, as if almost to intimidate me or just out of lack of consideration, whatever the case may be. I don’t all of a sudden feel like it’s my responsibility to correct their poor behavior and lack of consideration, rather, I ignore it, because I’m an adult and it’s not worth the time. Same could be said for boarding the train or bus. I’ll be standing right in front and add soon as the doors open 10 people barge in front of me. Also, constantly blocking the escalators as if they don’t really care if they catch their train or bus. I don’t assume it’s because of their race. I just assume they aren’t paying attention like most people don’t when they’re in their own bubble. Maybe if you trying living without a chip on your shoulder, you’ll start to realize the world is not out to get you and life gets easier.

    • Unconscious bias against White people. That’s laughable. Take yourself out of the center. I know that may be difficult for you but try it.

      • I mean, if you just admit you hate white people. It might make you feel better. That’s the way it seems to everyone outside of you’re echochamber. It won’t make you any progress. I don’t think enough people have told you that.

      • No. If I hated White people I would say that. You trying to make this article that truly says a lot about you. Why is that your focus? Why do you want me to say that? Ask yourself those questions. Look at yourself. Not me.

      • Also ask yourself where in this article did the author say or imply she hated White people? For you to make it that says to me something struck you about this article and that’s the part I challenge you to search yourself about.

  36. I promise you I’m not coming at you out of hatred and I’m but trying to troll you. But maybe an alternative opinion might help you in your journey to understanding the world around you. It’s obvious there is some denial in reality as you have seen multiple people disagree with you on this post. Even offering their stories, but you disregard all of that by saying “Take yourself out of the center” maybe you should follow that advice. The sentiment, I think, everyone agrees with. We all have a similar story, but you’re glued to the fact that it must be because of white privilege. Even though you’ve received contrasting information from several people. The general public is just send centered and rude.

    • You are still doing it. Pause. Don’t make this article about you and your experience and open your mind to the possibility that things can happen in this world that do not revolve around your personal experience.

      • I’ve tried to help you honey, but at the end of the day all I can offer you is the same advice. Maybe take a trip to Atlanta and see how rude the people are here. I can’t offer you anymore of my side of the story, because you only want to see the world through your own lens and refused to accept the reality of the situation. Take care. I hope you find resolve in your dilemma. God speed! 😁

      • Take care as well, Jason and perhaps one day when you are ready, really look at why you tried to make this conversation about the things that you did. That’s the part you need to examine. Search yourself. Have a good evening, “honey.”

  37. I’ll be frank. It took me a bit of time to embrace this ideology; even as I understand the experience.
    I have friends of various ethnicities; and I’ve noticed, regardless of the context, when a conglomerate term is used (White, Black, Asian) rather than a specific (Karen, who jus so happened to be white) individuals within that ethnic group tend to automatically draw a conjecture to themselves.

    That conjecture is the result of ignorance
    And even I had to overcome my own to understand the depth of ur thought.

    We should all be able to agree that in no manner should our personal space be intruded upon.
    We shouldn’t be ‘expected’ to move – idgaf If it’s the president
    And equally, we must be aware of the space of others and the respect that must be upheld within that space.

    Personally, I can’t say that I’ve experienced this; even as a 5’3 African male.
    But there are certainly ppl who are haunted by these experiences; and that is where the consideration comes into play.

    This psychological war will be a tough one to overcome because ppl are blindsided by diction rather than focusing on the spirit of the topic.

    The spirit in the situation being – don’t let ur complexion convince you that you’re above or beneath others.
    Own ur space, and maintain equal awareness of others and the accommodations they may need.

    If a mf gets too close tryin to reach for salt – pass it to them. Courteousness doesn’t kill; it heals.
    But if that same person reaches over ur plate like u don’t exist – knockem the fuck out.

    Thank you for your thought Hannah
    I’m sorry others don’t understand the gravity of the plight, but we must maintain faith in the idea that we will some day; not everyone, but enough to create consistent learning and understanding between ethnicities; because we’re really not that fuckin different.

    Love y’all (all of y’all) 😉

  38. This is ridiculous. People are rude and people want to stand their ground regardless. Especially in this lazy ass society where everyone is glued to their phones and are entirely self absorbed. Imagine if we all just stood and there wasn’t a bigger person making moves. We’d all be stuck. This is an ass-backwards, race baiting article and I hope the woman who wrote this finds peace because someone writing something this negative clearly does not have any.

  39. I think this was an excellent read. No it’s not always about race, but when you are a POC you can identify. For centuries the black woman has not been given any respect. But you want us to raise your brats, and take care of your cranky ass parents.
    This is a new day and time. We are sick and tired of bowing down, and getting knocked down by the colonizers. You are no more privileged than us so yes my sisters stand tall, and hold your ground.

    • Boo how are you gonna say people want you to take care of their kids/parents. Nooo! People want their kids and parents taken care of but if you don’t apply for them jobs you won’t get em ?! Stop blaming other people for your issues.

  40. Thank you for writing this article. Your work and labor is seen and appreciated. I hope this is the first of many delightful articles I read from you. May your 2020 be extra rad and everybody get the hell out of your way.

  41. I am a black woman and I actually became aware that I had this ingrained in me to move over when white people are walking towards me on a sidewalk and when neither would move over, I would be the one in the grass! I decided about two years ago, not to move over! If, I’m the only one walking towards a couple or a group and they refuse to acknowledge that a person is walking towards them and that they have to move, then we’re either going to end up nose to nose or bumping in to each other but I’m no longer moving or apologizing.

  42. This challenge is not new to me and I deal with this issue everyday. It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re a female or male, if you’re Black, they’re going to try you. When I “occupy my space,” I’m viewed as the angry, straight Black man….and I DGAF!

    I come from a culture that celebrates being the only ppl in recorded human history (let alone being Black) to take our independence, and everyday I walk in the streets, I don’t apologize or make nice for what my ancestors did to there’s, they’re not not sorry for what they did to ours and we have this impasse that has manifested figuratively in race relations and society, and now physically in this challenge.

    If Native Black Americans want their reparations, then they must “occupy that space space unapologetically and out right defiantly in order to gain their rightful place in the world.

    When we tell the others (and this isn’t just for Whites, BSC many of these so-called POCs are not the friends of Black ppl), that we are willing to fight and die for our rights to “occupy our space.” It is only then will we change what is expected of us.

  43. As a white women in predominantly white spaces, I don’t see this happen a lot but I’m certain that it does happen. What I do notice though is how many black men will avoid making eye contact with me in the hallways of office buildings. I tend to look at people and nod/smile when I pass them. White men always look directly at me, black men will look maybe 50% of the time. The other 50% they’re looking down. It’s heartbreaking. This is the northeast but very segregated. Sorry to change the subject slightly but it’s another Black etiquette rule that appears shamefully to have survived into the 21st century.

  44. Thank you for this, this is too real. Especially, in an every gentrifying DC, I watch as POC, (I used to s well) move to the side for a family of 4 or 5 with scooters, large bags, bikes, dogs etc, take up the whole sidewalk and won’t even let a person pass. It is so sickening!! Now, I just stop in place and let Jim, Jen, Chip and Riley with their stroller, bike, and scooter walk around me!! Bc if not, they will run you off the damn sidewalk!

    • This is very clearly a different scenario based on where you live. In Atlanta it’s the polar opposite. This is what’s called a faulty/hasty generalization, which is a fallacy. Where you only observe one type of the same thing and assume that it must just be one type of person. No one is denying it happens, but if you tried to stand your ground down here you’ll get jumped.

  45. The problem I have with this writer and the article is the use of the term “People of Color”. Who is not a person of color? I never call anyone white, because I’ve never seen one white person in my life. It so happened that the first person to describe human beings according to their skin colors was a Caucasian. He used white to describe himself and his like when in fact they are PINK. It is important to also note that in many cultures, including African, white is associated with purity. This ascription of the color white to the Caucasian subgroup is one of the foundational causes of racism. We should stop aiding them by using the term “people of color”. We are all people of color: Black, Brown, Pink, Yellow.

  46. This is going to stay with me. I caught myself doing just what the authors (Tatiana Mac and Hannah Drake) are calling out white people for only last week. And I remember internally justifying pushing through the WOC because “I would have with anybody” but I’m not so sure I would have.
    Thank you for taking so much time and energy to write this. I decided to claim my space on the sidewalk with men a long time ago, but I need to be much more cognizant of what I’m doing in shared spaces.

    • Thank you, Kristina and thank you for really examining yourself. That is the part that people often refuse to do because that part doesn’t feel good and they get stuck in that place. We only change for the better when we look inwardly and examine our actions and try to do/be better.

      • It’s hard to be aware if you’re not actively trying, and I had clearly become complacent.
        Thank you for responding and for keeping this alive. I’m glad it’s gone viral! And that some people are getting it. Too bad the rest aren’t.

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