In Ohio, I believe that we are pretty well-versed on the signs of racial prejudices, biases and how to best recognize them from a pretty early age. By the time we’ve all reached college, all of us can recall at least one story where we felt like we were mistreated for the color of our skin and/or know someone who has. Fortunately for me, I must side with the later. While I’ve known of some who have been racially profiled, it has never been aimed my way directly to my memory (although the police and TSA messing with Ty has felt EXTREMELY close to home).
Up here however, I’ve personally felt victimized twice and indirectly? I’ve lost count. I’m farther north than I’ve ever been in my life, yet I’m dealing with more racism than ever before as well? Is that not backwards?
In this city I’ve learned that nothing can get in the way of a White woman (W.W.) and what she wants. I hate to say that because I AM a believer that we are all people, all equal, and all entitled to the same rights. I would like to believe that I don’t see much of color, moreso that I see people. And yes, I’ve been proud of that because it’s not always the easiest thing to do. In a city like New York City, it is especially challenging.
On the crowded train (or subway as most of you probably identify them as) when we are all fighting for seats, I’ve seen a W.W. stand there, expexctantly looking at the people of color like, “I know you’re not going to take that seat that just freed up with me standing right here.”
My cousin Kenny was hailing a cab which is DIFFICULT to do on a party/busy night (Sunday-Thursday lol) and when one finally stopped, a W.W. stepped forward to take it. Kenny swatted at her and told her to get back. “But wait. I need a cab,” she pleaded. I don’t think I need to finish this story. Yall can already guess what my rude cousin Kenny did. Yall remember how he did that homeless woman, right? LOL. Needless to say, that W.W. was waiting a little bit longer for her own cab that night.
As for myself, the two occasions when I know that I was cast aside while the W.W. got privilege were both outside of clubs. The first, Greenhouse, is pretty hyped up so my girl and I decided to head there. We were dressed to the nines, with hair and makeup on point. When we showed up, the Eastern European doorman made us stand in line for what seemed like an eternity. While we were waiting, several men made passes, the Black security men were obviously intrigued and other men in line kept staring. After waiting awhile, we noticed that three, average looking, plastic-obsessed, Barbie W.W. came up, whispered something in the doorman’s ear and were quickly whisked into the club. They were wearing casual wedge heels, cuffed shorts, tank tops and long, basic weaves with heavy makeup. Afterwards the doorman gave my girl and I a red ticket each and inside we were met with an Eastern European man behind a register. He glanced at us, our red tickets, then back at us, before shaking his head no. “You ladies got the wrong tickets. You need to go back outside and get white ones. He gave you those red ones by mistake,” he told us. I looked in the register. There was no money, just a huge pile of white tickets. “But the man gave us these red tickets though. He knew what he was doing,” my girl told the man. “Honey, those tickets mean you pay $20.” He paused to glance at us one more time. “A mistake has been made. You two definitely need the white tickets. Just go back out there and get white ones.” By this point I was ready to leave Greenhouse. I was so turned off by the way I’d been treated up to this point, that I didn’t care if I was given a white ticket-they’d already disrespected me by letting those basic W.W. in. Seriously. My girl was bent on figuring this thing out so outside we head so she can confront the doorman. Sure enough, he wasn’t bending and refused to give us white tickets. The bouncers all looked shocked, shook their heads and threw up their hands. I couldn’t believe it. For the first time in my life, I realized I was treated poorly because of the color of my skin!
The second incident wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the first, but it was a similar scenario. My girl and I showed up to Juliet and this time, we’re on the list (when going out, you HAVE to be on someone’s list or else you’re paying ridiculous cover and waiting in obscene lines) so we walked right up to the doorman. Because we’d been there only the night before, the bouncers recognized us. Looking around, we saw tons of W.W. rocking basic dresses and heels while all of the Black women were wearing elaborate outfits, perfectly styled weaves and fabulous makeup and acces0ries. This time we were told by the doorman that we could go to the back of the OBSCENE line and wait until our turn to be let in. What?! And behind the doorman is his shaven-bald boss who is standing on top of the steps with his feet shoulder-width apart, wearing a gray three-piece suit, drinking a bottle of water while wearing the darkest shades ever. Dramatic and extra for no reason.
Yeah, I’m just about over it. Unless you’re showing up to the club, WITH the promoter and have some W.W. with their privilege on your team, you’re gonna be losing. It pisses me off. The outcome is SIGNIFICANTLY worse if you’re a Black man attempting to get into the club. SIGNIFICANTLY.
Last week, I managed to befriend three, super fun, W.W. who I was able to relate to and get along quite well with. I’m anxious to hang out with them in a club-like atmosphere (since last time we hung it was in a lounge spot) to see how they’re treated. I’m willing to bet I’m treated much nicer/better.
I know it’s a bit early to draw any major conclusions but…how have I ran into this twice in a single month when back home I ran into this never?