A Black man, with a red hoody on, wearing a beanie, rode past my
little Asian coworker on bike and snatched her phone out of her hand.
This isn’t about the $400 dollar phone. This isn’t about my
“little Asian” coworker. This is about Black men.
I fit the description of the Black man who snatched her phone…
She might have said he had dreads- so the style of the hair differs. And on that day I was wearing burgundy, not red; but close enough. I’m not heavy set- I’m skinny. But mannnnnn, if she filed a police report I’d be a suspect… I could just imagine myself walking out of the office, mounting my bike (which I ride everyday), and riding through the same area where the incident occurred … I’d be a suspect.
This wasn’t an isolated incident… There had been a rash of robberies.
Heavyset or skinny. Dreads locs or fresh cuts. We all look the same to cops.
I left out of the office, rode my bike to the high school where I held an after school program, and asked my students a number of questions…
“Have you ever been robbed?” … “Have you ever robbed/ thought of robbing people?” … ”Do you ever get looked at as a thief or criminal?” … ”Do they ever fear Black men?”
The conversation that came out these questions showed that we suffer from the thought of Black men being malicious, criminals, animals… these were the opinions of Black male and female high schoolers… And myself.
On many accords I felt the same.
I’ve been in their position. As a Black man, I’ve been in fear and I’ve been feared. How do we correct this mindset within high schoolers? For my
little Asian co-worker? Or, for that matter, white America?
… Especially if it is something that is pervasive within our own people/ community.
My co-worker is a loving-fighter. A poet born in the Philippines. A Pisces. And an experienced educator in Oakland, Ca. She took the incident in stride. I recall how she retold the account to me, ”For real, bro!?!” she yelled at the man as he took the phone and continued down the block. “I even called him ‘BRO’!… ” She said to me with exclamation. She maintained her stance of love.
She didn’t let one person’s actions change her perspective on all people.
That was the answer.
But is it possible to maintain your outlook on life, after seeing what life presents? Fully?
Seriously… Don’t you have to change to the environment as a means of survival?
… Or can you change the environment enough so as to ensure survival?
…. Just a train of thought ….