I have two stories to tell both of them happened within 24 hours of each other. This world can be one of the coldest places in the galaxy, but buried within it are good people. A couple days ago I was in a store (as usual), the guy at the register had a bunch of clothes. When the cashier told him his bill he realized he didn’t have enough money so he was going put some back. There was an older lady behind him, she looked like she was in her early fifties, she was an older white woman and he was a young black male in his very early twenties, in a couple of seconds something truly amazing happened. Amazing to me since I don’t get to witness these things every day, the woman stepped up and asked the cashier how much was he short by. The guy said no its ok you don’t have to, she insisted she told him not to worry about it she’ll get it. I saw this complete stranger pay more than half of this young man’s bill, I wanted to cry it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She thought nothing of it, he hugged her and told her thank you a thousand times, it truly is not the stories we see on the news.
The very next day at a restaurant I witnessed a scene that was the totally opposite. A very old white woman with her walker, she looked to be about late 80’s or early 90’s she could barely move. She was there with her family I assume about 8 of them. They pressed the elevator button for it to come up. When the elevator came up there were two black women inside who worked at the hotel, young women they looked about early twenties. I watched as the older woman walked towards the open elevator and when she saw them she stopped dead in her tracks. I watched because what happened was the strangest thing I had ever seen. She stalled and wouldn’t move forward one of the women in the elevator helped the door for her so it wouldn’t close, but she still wouldn’t move. So I said “You can go in” completely oblivious to why she refused to get in. Her family behind her seemed to realzie what was happening, then she turned to them and said “I’m not getting in there with them”. At the same time she said that the women in the elevator were coming out, their intention was to give the elevator to the family and they would get the next one. They didn’t hear her, but I did and her family did and they realize I heard, trying to play it off. They started laughing and joking with the women and saying “No we don’t want to steal your elevator” and thanking them when the women agreed they could have it. In that moment we wear all pretending that the little old lady with the walker was not a racist. Same old lady who was probably very upset when black people were allowed to go to white schools.
It all happened so quickly when the doors closed one of the girls shook her head and said She could tell when she saw that lady’s face that she didn’t want to come in because they were black. I wish I had done more, I wish I had asked the lady if she had a problem with black people but it happened so quickly before I realized what was happening. I looked at the women and I said ‘Why did you come out of the elevator. She should have taken the stairs or wait on another one”. The second girl was extremely upset she didn’t say anything but the first girl, the one who held the door didn’t seem phased by it. This was probably not the first time she had experienced something like that. I have experienced it a couple times but it upsets me every time. Especially when I think of the fact that the old lady and her family were all wearing t-shirts, bulky sneakers with the letter N on them, old jeans and flip flops. How dare they look down on someone. I refuse to have anyone be racist towards me in flip flops when I don’t even own a pair. I always do my best to make sure when I leave the house I am dressed properly because, I realize a lot of people have never met a me before. They have a stereo type about black people, and immigrants, I happen to be a black female immigrant from a 3rd world country. They have all kinds of preconceived notions about me, and they are all wrong.
I say all of this to say, we really can’t look at people and assume they are all bad or good people. Because in the same camp you will find both, we just have to do our part. Make sure we are setting ourselves up for success and make sure to demand respect in whatever way we can do that. For me dressing well, staying educated, informed and minding my business is my way of handling people like her.
Have an amazing week everyone, keep your chin up the weekend is almost here.
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