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Dear White People, Please Stop Invading My Space

Sometimes shit happens, and you feel the need to allow the reduction of anger, before attempting to express your frustration, but in this instance, I feel the intense desire to let loose.

Like most of you humans out there, I’m constantly on edge. I spend most of my time convincing myself and others that I’m completely in control of my senses. I recently downloaded a couple of those meditation apps that folks have been raving about, and while it has helped to settle me in the mornings for maybe five minutes, the effects wear off I soon as I step outside the door.

When I walk into spaces that aren’t protected by the predictability of my inner self and inner circle, there’s a level of anxiety that can only be diminished by the tracks of my years, but then I won’t dare walk around with headphones in my ears because I have to be ready and able to fend off attacks.

And the violation can range from deadly encounters to the artfulness of dodging the incoming grocery carts that are manned by aggressive White women, who don’t give a damn about whether or not they run you over because when it comes to who owns what — Black bodies are expected to instinctively create the path for Whiteness to flourish.

Of course dying on the streets of America after being pummeled with countless bullets from weapons belonging to roguish White cops doesn’t compare to anything that doesn’t come close to life-ending episodes.

But while I’m alive and barely functioning in this Black body that’s constantly being poked at — there are moments when I fear for the safety of those who are blissfully unaware or unreasonably nonchalant about the shit storm on the horizon.

By that I mean the monster I become when being tested is more than I can stand, especially when it’s orchestrated by the women who have no issue being “firestarters,” and then when the flames become uncontrollable, their victimhood takes centerstage, as Black women are conveniently described as the ones holding the matchstick.

There are plenty of instances to draw from but the ones that stand out occurred at Equinox, the country club of a gym that hosts the ideal playground for the privilege of Whiteness to thrive based on the themes of those environments, and how it allows the audacity of a White woman to school a Black woman on how to use the faucet in the locker room or how to keep her towel away from her nose.

You don’t need the specifics, you just need to have the clear understanding of how this stuff didn’t just begin a few hours ago. I have had to internalize the most profound shit from White women, and I am sick of it.

And while my life is so much more simpler these days, without the headiness of big cities and the armor of navigating clogged lanes that threaten the threshold of pain centers, there’s still no way to escape the required trips to places that were apparently closed off to Black people, based on the ire of White folks who helped to feed masses of cowardly editors and reporters, who were hooked on the activated calendar favorite that encompassed the “summer of hate, 2018.”

This summer, I’m taking it easy, trying to anyway, and yet my best efforts were thwarted on an early Saturday afternoon, and the location was Wegmans.

The popular grocery market that originated from Rochester, NY is kind of a favorite of mine because of the layout and how I’m able to brainstorm while easing through the stacked up aisles.

When I’ve finished filling up my cart with essentials and extra goodies, of course I head straight to the self-checkout because it’s the best option, and I weirdly enjoy the process of scanning my shit without a second-party judging my last minute decisions.

I will not lie that when that area is under the watchful eye of a Black employee, I immediately let out a sigh of relief because I know they won’t be in my space. They are in position and ready to jump in when necessary, but for the most part, Black shoppers are free do their thing.

Unfortunately the schedule wasn’t drafted in my favor this afternoon, when I scanned my items with no issue and swiped my card, before bagging.

I noticed the middle aged White woman casually heading to my vicinity as I waited for my card to be charged — and I was unnerved by the fact that she was trolling me.

There was something going on with the machine, and I knew it, but I still maintained my composure and continued to bag my items, while bracing for what I knew was coming.

Suddenly she interjected herself, and the way it was done was proof that she suspected that the Black woman was probably going to zoom out without paying. I guess it was the fact that I was positioning the cart with the stuff that was still unpaid, and so she carefully maneuvered her way over and stood behind me to prove oversee a theft in progress.

Before I knew it, she was close to me, speaking and touching the screen while I stood there, stupefied and heated. She was swooping in to help someone who didn’t need her. I had been here before, and quietly rectified the issue when Black employees were in the mix, but the White employee can’t stand by and watch a Black woman pretend that she thought she had paid when she clearly hadn’t.

And then came the comment that began with “next time, you might want to…” — and of course I lost the rest of my shit.

I proceeded to let her know that I was fully capable of checking myself out, and that I was aware that the machine hadn’t charged my card, and that the same thing had happened more than once, and each time, my decorum didn’t warrant the attention that she was bestowing on me — out of her bigoted quest to assume my guilt because of the color of my skin.

She transparently targeted me because of my race, and I certainly made it clear that she chose to invade a space that didn’t ask for her presence. And the way she sleekly made her way over to me was proof of how she was adamant about exacting her authority.

Here’s the thing, like most Black people, I truly hate my space being aggressively or demurely invaded by White people who bravely insert themselves in ways that are anything but cordial.

We all need to get a grip when it comes to the dourness of race relations, and how the blazing guns from law enforcement is being assisted with the unarmed White soldiers, who have always felt entitled, but let’s face it; Trump’s nationalist vibe is the enabler that’s getting out of hand.

I’m almost positive that if I had been a White woman dressed in the summer wear that features the latest collection from preppy havens like JMcLaughlin, where I briefly worked back in the nineties, that White employee wouldn’t have approached me in the manner that resembles how I sneak up on an annoying fly that needs to be swat to death.

There was absolutely no reason for her to storm my activities by taking over the process and then ending her heist with the passive/aggressive warning on how to figure out what was clearly self-explanatory.

Except for the fact that she was determined to make sure that I didn’t leave the premises with shit I didn’t pay for, as if that was ever an option.

If the Black women who are tasked with very same responsibilities, are able to comfortably allow me to retrieve my uncharged card, and start over with positive results, then why in God’s name was this White woman from afar, swiftly by my side, as if she had been charged to put out a raging fire?

The answer lies in how Black women are deemed “angry” and “strong” because of how we are thrust into provocative situations, that only get that way after White women purposely make a mountain out of a molehill, and thereby infuriate unsuspecting Black citizens who just want to pick a few things and head home without drama.

When I sternly and reservedly explained that her “assistance” wasn’t appreciated, she promptly adopted the familiar stance that illustrates how White women never mean any harm, even when they’re the trusted instigators.

I didn’t buy her excuses for those biased assumptions where I was concerned, and I hope that my unwillingness to match her broad smile was the obvious indication that I wasn’t capable of brushing off her interference as the innocent demonstration of how really good she is at her job.

Dear White folks, please consider what you’re doing before you do it. Find other ways to be “helpful.” Refrain from the habitual tendencies that mandate your input in ways that force Black people to decide whether to hit back, or save their lives by walking away.

Open spaces don’t belong to you, and when you examine the recent data, that truth glaringly carries more weight now than ever more.

If you examine my work on Medium, you would swear that I’m the bitter Black woman who can’t survive without the weekly vilification of White people, and honestly that’s okay with me.

Bitch about it all you want, but just make sure you stay out of my way, while you’re at it.

Written by

Juggling Wordsmith. I have a lot to say!

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