Pass black man, compulsively say hi.

LSSteph
Washington, DC

I’m a white woman, ever since I read this article back in college by a black man discussing his revelation that he always instinctively looks down or away when encountering a white women because he didn’t want her to be afraid of him and how he no longer does that, I say hi and look black men (regardless of where I am in DC) in the eye and say hi. I’m not asking for a cookie this is more neurotic thing I’ve internalized, does anyone else do this? It’s only if I pass someone on the sidewalk or street. The African-American male population of DC can rest easy it’s not like I will plop down next to the nearest black man on the metro and interrupt whatever he’s listening to on his ipod and pester him for the sole purpose of demonstrating one white person is not afraid of him. And that isn’t even 100% honest – my opinion of whether I should be afraid (I’m like this with men in general especially if I’m the only woman) is up for grabs if you are a stranger – which is probably healthy. I just don’t want someone to worry that I am afraid of them whether or not I am. It’s just the idea that someone would be like that man I read about, made me feel bad and I wanted to somehow prevent that concern that I may be afraid of him – like prove the exception. But the author was old, so is this even a thing now? I have a feeling people I say hi to don’t give a rat’s a** if I say hi or not but whatever, I smile and say hi to people in general I’m just more eye-contacty deliberate (maybe ironically making whatever man I’m passing unnerved by my white self ha) when it is black men. I find in general they are more likely to say hi back. At least in this town. Yes neurotic. I stress myself out over less. But really, I am curious if other people have this experience.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discus with your thoughts

  • Elene Gusch, DOM

    I can relate to this. I try to smile to say that I’m not scared of the guy and am not seeing him as some horrible threatening person.

  • Brenda in CA

    I, too, will say hi to any “non-white” male or males that I pass. I feel like I am acknowledging them. Woudn’t it be a better World if we would all say hi to anyone we pass?!! I challenge you all to try.

  • Amanda

    Neurosis understood! I understand what you are saying, admittedly I do the same thing for similar reason. I don’t want to make someone else uncomfortable because they think I might be afraid of them, especially since the truth is that I was born and raised in a black community.

  • Krane

    It is amazing that liberals have convinced stupid White women that it’s the Black men who are the “victims.” White women can’t walk down the street in an integrated area without fearing violence, yet the Black man being feared is considered the greatest moral evil.

    • Amanda

      I am not afraid. I grew up in a black suburb, often walked down the street, often the only white person around, did not experience violence. I would go shoot hoops with black guy friends after school. As an adult, I have moved around alot, sometimes in white southern towns where racial divisions are still strong, largely due to unsubstantiated fears. My actions are motivated by seeing what goes on around me, in whichever community I am living in at the time, and simply wanting things to be better.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris