Spacing Out Jane, Kooling it with Karen, Annoying Anne and other tales
I was in Target this afternoon, grabbing a few pre-Turkey Day items for my daughter. We didn't do the cart-full of a normal run and thought we'd just run in and out.
All was well until my daughter pointed to the aisle that was open. I moved my cart to the aisle and the young woman, Asian-American, said, "Oh, ma'am, I'm closed, sorry." I looked up and her light was out. I replied, "oh, wow, I didn't even look, thanks."
I moved over to the open aisle next to this one and was just waiting, the lady in front of me in my new one and the one I was just at both had long purchases. My daughter was off on her make-up or whatever second-look in the cosmetic aisle so I wasn't in a hurry. I was just looking through my phone when I noticed something that annoyed me.
Here comes a lady, about my age, I'm Black, she was White, and she goes to the aisle I just left. This was about five minutes later, mind you, both ladies in front of us were still engaging in their purchases.
The Asian-American cashier did not admonish this White woman as she was unloading a full cart of stuff.
Perhaps she did not see her the way she spoke up quickly to me before I could even reach my hand in my cart to put up the new pack of pens. So I just watched.
The cashier was still waiting on the lady buying a gazillion gift cards while just looking up at the White lady unloading her cart on the very visible aisle with the lights out. Even the manager walked by and no one said anything.
I spoke up.
"I thought you were closed." She just turned her head.
Then it was finally my turn and the funky haircut, ombre dyed cashier noticed and asked was I ok. I just said I was annoyed and proceeded to do what I often do at retail stores, put on my marketing and retail professor hat about customer service. I just said something about antiBlack racism being a real thing, even among those of the Global Majority. She said, "yeah, I know, I'm Latina." I replied, "me, too." And we chatted it up and talked about the white privilege in the space.
The White lady was probably very nice and maybe, like me, never noticed that the light was out, it is before Thanksgiving and she was just trying to get her purchases complete.
I was annoyed at the young WOC who knew what she did.
It is something we have noticed a lot in some of the places we have been now that we live in the Northeast.
Beyond antiBlack racism is the prevalence of excusing the behavior of EuroAmerican women.
This incident in Target is just a few hours after my morning perusal of social media left us all appalled at the behavior of the White woman defense attorney in Georgia who pulled out all the racist disgusting tropes she could find to speak about a Black man fleeing for his life from the vigilante, wannabe slave catchers who murdered him in cold blood. She knew what she was doing.
All this is just a few days after the pimplyfacedmassmurdered was found not guilty because the judge and nearly all-White jury just couldn't imagine taking him away from his dear White mother. The same SallyAnnKarenSusy who raised him to be a then seventeen year old racist mass murderer.
In this season of backlash against Critical Race Theory and wringing hands as the 1619 Project book hits shelves, we are deeply reminded of the very real actions of our sisters-without-melanin who played integral parts in the lynchings, school integration protests, who uphold restrictive covenants in their neighborhoods and are willing voices to their partners' dog whistles about values and safety.
They are not without dirty hands.
They were owners and traffickers of human beings, just like men.
They attended lynchings, just like the men, and were often the willing voice to set up Black men for this vigilante justice.
They are the ones protesting masking, reading books about real history, and anything that makes them uncomfortable.
I said to my cashier in Target, "can we just normalize not being scared of white women."
We have to fear their feigned fear because it is deadly those of us who are sun kissed. We have to fear their tears that take up all the oxygen in the room. We have to fear their looks and curiosity of our hair. We have to fear them touching our children. We have to fear them being indignant because we are exhausted about teaching them about systemic racism. We have to fear them being intimidated by our confidence. We have to fear their jealousy of our accomplishments.
And all of it is annoying.
So I'm wondering, as this year draws to a close and we started it with White women storming the nation's capital along with their men and ending it with them screaming in stores because they had to wear a mask or holding school board meetings hostage because they fear their child reading one Black book, I'm wonder if we can just stop.
They are not the majority in the country.
They are not the standard of beauty, class, or intelligence.
They are average.
So what if we de-centered them?
Decolonized their yoga pants and hunger shakes they eat to stay appealing to their men and an entire marketing strategy has been developed to keep them from aging.
Can we just stop listening and paying attention?
Stop privileging them in line because we are scared of what they would do if we said no.
Maybe, just maybe, if we all, all of us in the Global Majority did that, the SallyAnneSusyBeckyJanes will realize they are not the center, not the standard, and reach out to try to be human.