While walking back from the local laundromat in my San Francisco neighborhood this morning, I ran across an elderly white woman and her two (unleashed) dogs. (Please, please leash your dogs, people.) Said lady was oblivious to the world — including me and her dogs — as I passed by. But heading in the opposite direction was a 30-ish white woman and her equally white toddler. The leash-oblivious dog lady offered a chipper “Good morning!” Naturally, I assumed she was saying it to me, so I turned around, but to my naive surprise, it was to the other whites in her vicinity. Apparently, dog lady was not blind to her own people, as they stopped for a conversation while there was no glance in my direction.
I was pissed off, as the friendly thing to do in my opinion would have been to at least acknowledge my existence. But that’s reaching a bit for the dominant culture. Because whether it is shopping or trying to simply exist, white people have set the template to everyone that black people are not worth a damn. I can count on my hands, toes, and hairs on my head the number of times on a daily basis that a shop employee, pedestrian, or coworker have stared through me like I was a ghost, have clutched their purse within my vicinity, quieted their conversations until I passed, or gave nervous titters — and it’d only be lunchtime. And it’s tiring.
While blacks have been threatened in America since they were chained and dragged off the slave ships from their home countries, every aspect of American society has found new ways to lessen our being. While slavery, sharecropping, lynchings, Jim Crow laws, segregation through zoning laws and school choice (still happening!), drugs, lack of health options, cultural appropriation, and voting laws are some of the many ways blacks have been oppressed and demonized, America is only too Taylor-Swift-face to breathlessly wonder what’s happening to the WHITE Americans!
The funny thing is that I assumed, naively, that San Francisco would be different. That the do-gooder, hippie-descendant liberals of the Bay Area would be enlightened and caring about everyone. But nearly two years ago (anniversary on April 23, y’all!), I was stopped by the police for walking in sweats while black. And I was done. The people paid by my tax dollars paid to serve and protect me didn’t give a damn about my protection, and they were protecting and serving the supposedly liberal paradise of Fog City, so I read that as a “fuck you” to my mere existence.
I’m tired. I’m pissed. And no one else seems to care about me or my people. Hell, the election of Velveeta-in-Chief is proof of the lack of care towards people of color — least of all, black people. So whenever I see your personality flip when I approach, or you fail to acknowledge me as a person, know that the rumors about blacks always being angry are true in at least one case. Because you continue to do this, you erect and strengthen the strongholds of this treatment, and you’re going to choke on your conceit.