Here are a couple interesting pieces from guys who identify as white. The first is some guy on Facebook but forget who. “If you are skeptical of how a Black person describes the reality of their interactions with people around them and the world at large, it’s time to do some soul-searching. Believe me, I’ve been there…”
The other is from my blogger buddy Greg, who wrote a lengthy post on Facebook. “I have tried to listen to people who speak of their experiences, and I have tried not to say condescending things like ‘Well, I never see it’ or ‘I’m sure you just misinterpreted things.’ I have said this a lot, but I hope not in a condescending way – I rarely see or hear obviously racist things. I’m not attuned to it, and people are far more subtle about it these days.”
They don’t always announce their bigotry
That’s true that the bigots can be subtle. It reminds me of the time I posted this story in 2011 about not getting served at a Holiday Inn bar near Fenway Park in Boston on June 14, 1991. This despite waiting at least 10 minutes and other people who came to the bar after I did getting their drinks.
When I posted this on Facebook, I got pushback. “Maybe he didn’t see you.” He SAW me; he acknowledged me pointing at me with his index finger. He just didn’t serve me. And he had plausible deniability at a crowded bar. As I noted at the time, “I became so incensed that, had I access to a baseball bat, I am afraid I might have started smashing the drinking glasses that hung over the barkeep’s head.”
Though I was angry with the original incident in Boston, I was far more furious at not being believed. I’ve told this story – the part about not being believed – to a number of black people, mostly from church. They all sighed knowingly.
I stole this from that first white person cited because it was so succinctly written. “I’ve doubted things my black friends have said about others I’ve known for a long time in my quest to always see the best in everyone. But I’ve learned the hard way (and, sadly, made it harder on my black friends in the process) that they know their own reality far better than I ever will. Trust black people when they tell you what their lives are like. They are telling the truth. Full stop.”