Within the US, I’ve lived in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest and the Northwest. I’ve lived large metropolitan areas and towns with less than 5,000 people. I try to live in places that are considered to be “progressive” in population and culture. But sometimes the “right” demographics can give a false read of what a person of color will experience in those places. I’ve also worked since I was 18. Because of places I’ve lived and also professions I’ve had (specifically those that were “male dominated”), I’ve spent working hours with White people – people who I would not choose as friends under normal circumstances.
Living and working in an assortment of regions in the US, and working in various professions have afforded me opportunities to interact with lots of White folks. The many environments have also allowed me to listen and observe – often unnoticed by those I’m studying. It’s under these circumstances that I’ve noticed a recurring pattern of behavior and conversation from White folks that has remained unchanged over time, geography, age and gender. In talking with my Black friends, they too have made these observations. (In talking with my friends who are not Black, but people of color, they tell me that they have also observed these behaviors – at times with a twist.)
I’m sharing these personal experiences because I need to let them fly free into the airwaves. Listeners: Do you see yourself in these stories – either from my point-of-view, or as one of those people I’m interacting with?