Below is an excerpt from a response paper I wrote for a class. I am submitting it as one of my responses to yesterday’s double dog dare.
“You have spent the better half of the day in silence with no contact from the outside world. You’re in need of a friendly conversation to you get you through the rest of the night. You wait on the corner of the street searching your purse for your phone. When the crosswalk signal changes a group of men approach from the other side lined up like a Parcheesi blockade. You continue to advance amongst a sea of people, as you pass though the Parcheesi blockade your arm brushes up against another man’s arm. As you continue to walk you hear, “You fucking white bitch. Who the fuck do you think you are? BITCH!” The words spat from behind causing the hairs on the back of your neck to rise.
As you continue to walk up the block, you rethink the scenario in your head. This is a city after all, many times you have rubbed up against strangers, in the subway, on crowded sidewalks, at the grocery store, and you’re baffled at how irate this man got. Then in the window you catch a glimpse of yourself in your new checkered coat with the tie waist, frilly white scarf and red wool cap everybody seems to like. It dawns on you that this image is the problem. You realize the man saw you as an over-privileged, self- indulgent, rich white bitch on the phone who thinks she can just walk wherever she wants. As you come to this realization you are forcefully poked from behind.
You turn around and there he is. He followed you halfway up the street to poke his long, dark finger in your arm and openly share his contempt for you and everything you represent. “Who the fuck do you think you are white bitch? Where the fuck do you think you are?”
You steady your gaze and look directly in his eyes to see the undeniable hatred of thirty angry men. He is a one-man-mob and you dare to stare back. The truth is, he doesn’t know anything about you, about what you have gone through in life and you’ll be damned if some angry, black man is going to reduce you to a childlike state of fear. As your heart palpates, you meet his hatred with indifference and this maddens him. He continues, “This ain’t no Yankee section of town, Bitch, this is West Philly. You hear me bitch. You hear what I am saying, you white bitch. You ain’t protected here, this be the ghetto.”
You look back at the man, eyes interlocked as others pass by on the street. You wait for him to turn around, to watch him go away. The irony of the situation hits you; you are headed to a class entitled English 135: Perspectives on Race, Class & Gender in which you will be asked to put yourself in your offender’s shoes and sympathize with his situation in life. And then you think of the man walking to wherever it is he his headed with all that hatred in his heart, knowing this story about you will be shared amongst his friends, adding fuel to the fire. You feel bad that you brushed up against this man, not for your sake or his, but because of the ever present cycle of the ways things are.
Just another day in the city of brotherly love.”
A Warrior Princess