A young black woman and her mother are walking around a primarily white suburban mall. They haven’t seen each other very often since the mother moved to this new city a year ago, so they are completely wrapped up in each other.
As they head to a favorite clothing store, a large group of white teenage boys are walking towards them. As they pass, the boy in front lunges aggressively at the young woman. She jumps. The boys walk away, laughing hysterically at their friend’s antics. The girl is almost in tears, because she doesn’t understand what she did to provoke that kind of behavior.
Are you outraged for that woman? Did those boys do it because she was in “their” mall? Was it due to white male privilege?
Now what if I told you that it was me? I was 18, and had never been in a large city. The group of boys were all black. So, now it’s funny, right? “Make the white girl scared of us urban youths”. I try not to perpetuate stereotypes. I’m the product of a Mexican father and a white mother. I have never “belonged” in either family. Not quite white enough; not quite brown enough. It’s painful. It’s harmful.
It’s been almost 20 years since that experience. You would think I could have gotten over it. I haven’t. I’m angry to this day. The purpose of that boy’s actions was to instill fear and dominance.
I still ask why.