Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Being a Black Comes First: White Woman Clutches Purse at Sight of 6 Black Gay Men

So......
During Memorial Day Weekend in Washington, DC tens of thousands of Black Gay Men and Women come to the city to celebrate Black Gay Pride and have been doing so for the last 18 years. When I feel I can do it the justice it deserves, I'll write a post documenting the history of Black Gay Prides and how many of the celebrations evolved because we were excluded from clubs and bars in the white gay community.

Anyway, I left a bar called the Fireplace in DuPont Circle after hanging out with a few friends. We were all laughing and joking and having a goodtime when one of us got hungry and decided we would grab something to eat before hitting the next club. As luck would have it one of the BEST places in DC to get a gyro, falafel sandwich, or other middle eastern cuisine is approximately 2 blocks east of the FirePlace, so we began to make a liesurely stroll down the street, still laughing and joking.

We arrive at the restaurant and wait for the rest of the group out front. As we are deciding what to do next I notice that there's a white coulple sitting at one table and a white woman sitting at a table adjacent to the line where we order food. 2 white men walk in ahead of us then 2 more. They are just as obnoxious and loud as drunk white people can be, but we ignore them because we know they've been partying. No big problem there... It's a holiday! Have fun!

When we entered the restaurant to order our food (there was a total of 6 of us), Single White Female nearly has a damn aneurysm, snatches her open purse off of a table that was actually BEHIND her, shuts it quickly and clutches it for dear life! She then looks at us, buries her head into her food, and then slips out her cell phone to begin making a phone call to someone. I'm sure she was calling another SWF to talk to them about how she'd just had a close call with some negroes and how she just didn't feel safe. She looks up again and by that time I had walked over to her to ask her why she gathered up her things with the quickness after several black men walked into a restaurant.

She was speechless.

I then asked her, "Did you actually think someone was going to harm you or steal something from you? Are you aware that you have NOTHING in your fake Gucci bag that I, or any of these other men can't buy? No one wants you more than you want yourself and I REALLY need for you to understand that." She responded after turning BEET red and explained that her reaction had nothing to do with us walking in but everything to do with how absent minded she was. She was a liar. I quickly got her together because I told her how I notcied how she wasn't too concerned about her personal items when the loud, drunk, white men walked in, but she was all too concerned when we walked in. She attempted to apologize and started CRYING!!! By this time SWF must have been asking her if she was okay because she kept saying that she was alright.

Too funny!

If a gay black man can't walk around DuPont Circle without having a white woman clutch her fake purse, where can he walk?

43 comments:

Bernie said...

She cried because you caused her to look at her true self and she didn't like what she saw.

kob said...

I don’t think you had any right to confront this woman over what you perceived as a slight. You obvious embarrassed her and probably ruined her night. Was she sitting with a group of males? Would you have been so confrontational if you knew a challenge may have been on its way?

But, all that said, you could have made the point on this blog without have ever acted; sparked discussion. Instead, the legitimacy of this public and in my view, entirely unwarranted action, will be the takeaway.

mmafan said...

Brother..I am truly sorry about your experience. It happens to me as well in addition to the clicking of a car door when I pass by. I can't believe this person would sit there and blatantly lie to you when in fact she knew what her intentions were.

Sadly, many of our own people do this as well. I can be dressed to the nines and this paranoid behavior still occurs. I don't let it get to me though or take it personally, even though that can be difficult.

Those who act in this way are the ones with the problem, not me. This just goes to illustrate that it doesn't matter whether we are gay, bi or straight, none of us are immune from this.

Peace

BLKSeaGoat said...

Kob,

That's where you and I differ. I had every right to ask her and yes, I would have done the same thing had she been sitting with a group of males, lesbians, or other black people.

If her night was ruined, so be it. This post is sparking discussion now.

Naima said...

I swear black gay guys these days have more guts than the straight ones. I can't believe she started crying, did she feel so bad because she has a black boyfriend at home or something?
But I kinda of feel sorry for her, she was all alone and you made her cry. I heard you on some podcasts, you go can seem quite harsh at times.

Shannon said...

"I'm sure she was calling another SWF to talk to them about how she'd just had a close call with some negroes and how she just didn't feel safe."

...or she was placing a harmless call, and had grabbed her purse because she'd noticed the room was getting more crowded and she ought to free up some space/not leave her personal belongings out for people to rifle through.

I agree with KOB that you went over the line. It's perfectly valid to ask her why she grabbed on to her purse. However, you continued to berate her after you'd already made your point. And taking pleasure in the fact you made her cry just makes you come across as a bit of a bully.

BLKSeaGoat said...

Naima and Shannon,

Duly noted.

Shannon,

Naw, I actaully approached her in a conversational manner, but my tone made it clear that I felt she was wrong.

Again, I'm not sure how she didn't feel the same way about the 4 drunken and obnoxious white men who entered the restaurant before us.

With the couple in the restaurant, SWF, the 4 white gays, and the 6 black ones, there was a total of 13 people in the restaurant.

Not a crowd, especially given the fact that it was a Sunday night.

James C. Collier said...

Blkseagoat,

I see your point, and that of your offender. Protectionist stereotypes paint with a broad brush, but only because the cost of ignoring their accuracy can be quite high. Statistically, a sober black man is still more dangerous than drunken white man, and the setting is irrelevant to her reaction. Let's be sure to put some of the responsibility on black men and their adherence to the rule of law and violence.
Peace.

BLKSeaGoat said...

James,

Could you please provide links to the unbiased studies which support your position? Do they include information specific to the danger level of black gay men?

Symphony said...

Black, White, straight, gay, dressed to the nines, or pants hanging of their butts - I'm jaded to the point I perceive everyone as a threat until I see otherwise.

Philip said...

How about the woman who was raped 24 years ago in Cleveland and just wrote a long newspaper article about it? here's a quote:

"So here is an uncomfortable truth: I ignored my instinct not to trust a stranger, because the stranger was young and black, and I did not want to look like a racist white woman who automatically does not trust young black men."

I got held up at gunpoint on Capitol Hill when I didn't run from three black kids jogging up to me when I had the same thought. I still remember the kid with the gun's hand shaking as he held it to my head.

I'm as liberal as the next yuppie and obviously 'black' does not mean 'criminal', but trusting your instincts and accepting that that means sometimes having to use a stereotype to be safe is a fact of life. I'm sure you think she reacted to you being black when you were obviously not a threat in any other way, and that's racism pure and simple. But maybe you're wrong.

James C. Collier said...

Blkseagoat,
In this case, the conclusion is deductive from public stats (pick your most unbiased source) that show in no category do white men behave as violently (murder, rape, assault et al) as black men. I expect that gayness and non-violence correlate, but picking out a gay man from the crowd is a subtle/thoughtful exercise (hopefully) unlike avoiding assault. I know of no studies that measure violent tendencies by orientation. Would you want to wear a shirt with such a message to avoid the response you received? I walk in your shoes, but I too can see my loved ones instinctively protecting themselves in a similar manner from any number of accurate stereotypes empirically 'wired' into their heads. Better to embarrass than to endanger is sad but true.
/JC

Woman in Transition said...

Wow... This is the stuff good dissertations on race and culture are made of. I'm tingling at the discourse here. I only wish there were more comments!

I'm female, and I've been on trains, elevators, etc. with white women and, oddly, had the purse move done to me [or even funnier, perhaps I brushed against her trying to get by only to look back and see her looking herself over with the 'did-she-leave-dirt-on-me' move - LOL!] Unfortunately, society has conditioned us to be leary of strangers, more so if these strangers are black and male. If you've ever been the victim of a crime, your leary-ness is even more heightened.

Odd that she should start crying, though. That's certainly not typical these days. If she's going to live in DC, she'd better toughen up quick!!!

Curious said...

I am a member of one of the premier gyms, their words not mine, in Philadelphia. And sometimes I will go to the locker room and find a locker that I was going to use filled with someone else's ill fitting worsted wool suit and valuables and no lock. And I will get upset because I know that if something were to go missing, which once in a while does happen, the 1st people who will be looked at will be the Mexican and Phillipino staff and then the non-white members. So I can't blame anyone for trying to protect themselves by not placing opportunities out there for others to take advantage of.

Now I'm not saying that what your fellow diner did what she did because you walked in was not offensive but it was something that she should have done even before you got there.

As a black man, I have to be aware of all that surrounds me so that I don't get surprised. As a black gay man, I have to be doubly aware of my environment for my own protection. I'm sure she felt no different.

BLKSeaGoat said...

JC,

I'm not sure that you do walk in my shoes. To imply that evey stereotype about black men is accurate also means that every white woman's fear of a black man is irrational.

Where are the studies that show black men are more violent than white men towards white women? If anyone has th right to have justifiable fear based on anecdotal experiences or or stereotypes, it should be black women.

Again, you provide a weak argument to justify that obnoxious and drunk, gay white men are somehow less violent than non-drunk black gay men. How so? Her fear was irrational and the fact that she burst into tears may have more to do with some underlying racial issues and mental illness than anything else.

I'm not sure what it is that you're getting at but I have many female relatives, some white, who would have defended my actions because the black men in their lives have been their protectors rather than victimizers.

For now, let's stick to this topic. If her safety was an imminent concern to her, then the drunk white men should have received the same "welcoming" response the I received when I walked into that restaurant to stand in line.

No shade.

James C. Collier said...

BLKSeagoat,

Here is a link to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm
It shows blacks committing homicides at roughly 10x the rate of whites, understanding that men predominate over women in ea.
You are correct the black women should fear their men the most, but everyone is at greater risk to black men.
Also, I never said that all stereotypes are accurate, just that fear of violence from black men is substantiated by data.
I also did not say that drunken men are not dangerous, just that drunkenness is not an overriding factor to dictating who is more prone to violence. Unfortunately race is a good indicator, and black men must own this, and the fallout.
Why do you insist on offering gayness as something anyone could or should react to?
Lastly, you read way too much into her crying. It is only proof of a strong sympathetic reaction to stress, nothing else. Granted, your confrontation probably made her feel guilty, but her fear likely reset once you got out of her face.
You might not like her response, but it was honest and indicative of problems in our society beyond her control, the black male penchant to violent behavior.
/JC

Foilwoman said...

I can see how someone could be offended by the behavior of the woman you describe, but I fail to see how the world is improved by your actions: making another adult cry pretty much proves that your actions weren't modulated or that you failed to perceive some pretty extreme vulnerabilities. In either case, your behavior was nothing to extoll. Sympathetic discussion will win allies: trying to teach others with attacks only creates victims or enemies. That's one woman who will cross the street to avoid you now. Is that what you wanted to achieve?

I'm sorry you felt attacked, but attacking in return -- well we all know what Gandhi said about eye for an eye.

focusedpurpose said...

white woman crying---call 911, the marines, national guard, Jesus!!!

black woman dying---she needs to be more responsible for her choices; try to do it quietly without making a mess or others uncomfortable!!!

Mr. Collier, your blog is aptly named "acting white". your statements indicate that you have taken assimilation to new heights. when folks are acting white to me they are doing/saying the most brazen, untruthful, ignorant, self serving, backwards things and acting as if vehemence makes it acceptable, intelligent, true and the "tradition". keep up the good work! i understand maintaining white supremacy is profitable for those negroes that allow themselves to be used to that end; make sure you get yours.

when people quote statistics, i always would like to know WHO compiled the information---it really does matter. furthermore, considering that black people have been "scientifically" (sp?:-) rendered inferior maybe you could quote those "facts" as well while you are at it?

white men and white women, collectively, are the world minority and the most violent people, without provocation, ever created in my humble opinion. they can't peacefully coexist with each other or with the world majority color population. white folks don't just knock you in the head and take what they want, they will blow up whole countries. why? just because they can. look around my friend. by the way, when white folks rape, rob, murder and pillage---it is called "discovering" whatever it may be; typically land and wealth. when other folks do the same thing, it is "criminal", "the face of evil" and "human rights violations". for example, the whites during hurricane Katrina were stealing to survive. the black folks were "looting". mmmmm...how convenient.

some white women burst into tears, regularly and routinely, out of sheer manipulation when confronted with their consistent unacceptable behavior. i speak from experience. it is a weapon in their arsenal of white woman privilege. the poster child for unreasonable white woman privilege, hrclinton, whipped it out not too long ago as well. our white woman protectionism culture gives the tears of white women power. in fact, they don't actually have to do full water works, they can just get teary eyed/choked up and most people- all colors have been trained to- race to their rescue. this used to irk me, now i find it hysterical to guess how long into the exchange it will be before she runs out of feeble excuses for her behavior and starts crying. in this way i can find amusement rather than impatience and anger.

i suppose as a "strong" black woman i could give crying a try when all else fails, only i know, no one and i do mean NO one will care. for this reason, i carry my maltese around whenever possible. if something happened to my dog---folks would care! i wish i were joking. i am not.

BlkSeagoat, you have every right to challenge those that choose to paint you with the black man=criminal brush. especially, since no one bothers to treat white men and white women like serial killing sociopaths despite centuries of evidence, world-wide without provocation, that would support such a notion.

as a black woman, i don't particularly trust anyone truth be told. brutalizing black women and girls is the american way and from what i can see the national past-time. however, unlike the woman you mentioned, when/if confronted, i could own the fact that i don't trust people freely without denying the truth. i suppose privilege affords many the luxury of denial.

thanks for allowing me to weigh in...if you want to have fun with the american irrational fear of all things black...act as if you didn't notice the fear and be really friendly. the responses, crack me up! especially with the white folks that remember when the world was slightly different:-)

blessings all,
focusedpurpose

Shannon said...

Well, focusedpurpose really doesn't like white women. How constructive. I'll be sure to sob manipulatively as I post this comment.

Going back to the original confrontation...I have a rule in life, "Once you've made your point, stop talking." Calling the women out on the purse-grabbing, calmly and politely, might have made her see things in a new light. "Ma'am, why'd you grab your purse like that?"

However, continuing to berate her ("fake purse" and onwards) undercuts your aims because she probably just thought to herself, "Wow, what a psycho." In the end you only made the situation worse.

Also, I just don't think it's appropriate to go through life making people cry. Call me a prissy white girl, but that just isn't cool.

Devil's Advocate said...

I'm not sure if you were right or wrong for confronting her. If she offended you and it was going to bother you to leave something unsaid, then screw it. Say something to her. She might think twice about leaving her purse on another table again, so that she doesn't HAVE to put herself in an uncomfortable situation of strategizing exactly when she should take it into her possession.

Walking through Dupont two years ago, I had a clutch purse. Clutch as in, no strap. So it was under my arm. Along comes a cold breeze and I tighten my arms to me. And then there's a black man screaming about how he's not going to steal my purse.

Forgive me, but I left the house not realizing how cold I might become later and this world is not all about you buddy. He wouldn't ever see it that way though. He'll go through life adding that to his list of people who have been afraid of him. Narcissism for sure.

An interesting side note that these posts bring to my mind is this: For years we've known racism to exist and there seems to be a very strong change in the tides in the last few decades, in that, there are no more minorities.

But it's still okay to single yourself out for being black. Take your advertisement in the sidebar: Proud Black Voter.

What if I put a "Proud White Voter" ad on my blog? Why is there a difference? Why do all minorities demand they want to be treated equal then go and single themselves out? It's something that has always bothered me.

BLKSeaGoat said...

Shannon,

You, like, so many others who have read this post still refuse to acknowledge the woman's irrational behavior and it's cool... I'm used to white people absolving themselves from their own character flaws.

I was calm when I approached her and what I wrote in this post was verbatim. I didn't yell at her and I sure didn't approach her being "Angry Black Man". Callin her purse fake was a true statement, but you're right... I didn't have to call her out about having one.

Hmmm... Maybe that's the reason she started crying (Although I don't go through life making people cry)! Maybe she was more embarrassed by the fact that I called her out for having a penchant for purchasing fake luxury goods from purveyors of trademark infringement.

It's all so clear to me now... The woman wasn't racist (and in this post I never stated she was or that all white women were); she was simply embarrassed because everyone now knows that her purse isn't real and she's been posing all these years.

Awwww (sad face)

BLKSeaGoat said...

Foil,

I didn't feel attacked. I was actaully more bewildered than anything else.

White women don't typically react that way in DuPont Circle, especcially not around a group such as the one I was a part of. What could be so threatening about a group of men fashionably dressed with arched eyebrows, manicure nails, and donning lipgloss?

If we ever cross paths again she can feel free to cross the street. It will only confirm what I've written in this post. She was suffering from something way before she encountered me. I simply called her out on it.

Randi523 said...

I don't see a problem with confronting this woman on her behavior. How else will the issue of racism in this country (or any societal issue for that matter) get resolved if it is not confronted?

I can't see any other reason but race for the woman abruptly grabbing her purse. I understand nowadays with the way crime is today, but crime is caused by people of ALL RACES (and genders, too).

BLKSeaGoat said...

Devil's Advocate,

I've seen bloggers that write about their pride in being white and they blame black people for all of the social ills in society. They typically call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.

Feel free to do what you want on your blog. I'm not going to respond to anything other than your experience walking through DuPont, as it relates to his post.

Perhaps the guy did overreact toward's you. I wouldn't have yelled... I don't need to. However, I will ask this:

How many times have been on an elevator or a train and sat next to a black woman and they started clutching their bags as if they were afraid of you?

You claim that minorities are separatists; you neglect to include that 450 years of LEGALIZED separation rendered most blacks this way. In addition to several years of sophisticated separation, that while unethical and immoral, was never prevented by the legal system.

In your case however, being cold is just being cold. I'd have thought nothing of it because like you, I would have probably worn something inappropriate for DC weather. This was not the case in the restaurant that Sunday night.

There was a clear, deliberate, and irrational reaction on this young woman's part, that while it may not sully my interactions with all white women, it will certainly make me a little more observant of how they behave.

nutmeg96 said...

I'm sorry that happened to you. I think people aren't really understanding how it all went down -- only those who were there can really judge.

It is true though that things are not always what they seem. Your post hit home with me because yesterday I was walking toward the garage at work, and I was wearing heels that were near stillettos, walking on cobblestone. At one point my foot wobbled and I kind of swerved to the left as a result (trying not to actually fall), and then this black guy walking toward me made a point to smile and say Hi. I smiled and said Hi back, and then a moment later I got all paranoid that he thought I was swerving left to avoid him. I had angst about this for a while afterwards. Maybe he was just being friendly -- but if he was trying to make a point, his way of dealing with what he may have seen as a slight was really tactful. And it definitely made the point as well as or better than if he'd have lectured me. OTOH, then I could have shown him my heels and explained my swerve. ;)

But I feel like you might think I'm just rationalizing my obvious deep-down racism with this post, because of your comment about "white people absolving themselves from their own character flaws." Like all white people are the same. What's *that* all about? You know that's not a rational statement, just like it's not rational for a chick to clutch her bag suddenly when a group of black guys comes in.

You know, she was clearly stupid anyway, because she should never have left her bag out in the open in the first place. Those are the people who get their crap stolen (by thieves of any color).

jazine said...

Wow, I am rather surprised at the heat Blkseagoat is taking for standing up for himself. Why are all of you so preoccupied for this woman's feelings? I truly don't get it.

Blkseagoat, you did something that I suspect many black people have been wanting to do whites when they get unfairly "tagged" as the criminal beast. Instead, we bury it wanting to come across as "fair" and "rational"-don't want to rock the boat and make them think any less of us than they already do.

A couple of years ago I was with my brother-in-law on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in NYC. My sister just gave birth to their daughter at Mt. Sinai. We went to get her a burger because she hated the hospital food. As walked into the diner, a white guy bumped into my 6'3 brother-in-law and he automatically checked his wallet in his back pocket to makes sure it was still there. I also noticed my brother-in-law had his hands up while he walked past the guy as if to show him he didn't take anything. I was shocked, but my brother-in-law didn't want to discuss it. He acted like nothing happened.

BLKSeaGoat said...

nutmeg,

You present and excellent perspective that we can continue if you'd like.

Why did you feel guilty about wobbling and what triggered you to superimpose your feelings of guilt on to the black man who simply smiled and said hello?

You're right about me genralizing about white people. My experiences may be my experiences, but they've been frequent enough to justify my statement.

Now had you wobbled in front of me, I would have commented on how nice your stilletos were then asked if you were okay. After that, I'd probably tell you to OWN YOUR WALK so that the wobbling didn't happen again. *LOL*

focusedpurpose said...

Shannon said:

"Well, focusedpurpose really doesn't like white women."

Shannon, i understand that you do not know me. allow me to clarify. i do not like white supremacy; in fact i hate it. i am not sorry. white women are literally the mothers of white supremacy and benefit, still today, the most from it; while some cry and deny it every step of the way.

those white women that are striving to be like white men insist on perpetuating white supremacy. "feminism" as we know it is rife with white supremacy; if you trained yourself to listen to those that differ from you, you would find i am not the only one to point this out. as i said, hrclinton is the poster child for the type of white woman i am talking about. she has a great deal of company, too, some are even married to non white men---go figure that one out.

there are some white women, and black, asian, hispanic for that matter that i don't particularly like, yes; to say i just don't like white women in general is silly.

i reserve the right to tell the truth as i see it. had this woman had the courage to tell the truth, i am sure this post would be entirely different. i would have had a lot more respect for her had she said, "hey dude, i watch a lot of t.v.", anything other than a denial; especially, since white men will eat you, make a dress out of you, etc. as supported by many years of serial killing of white women by white men.

btw, i have met white women that are grounded enough in their humanity to tell the truth. the lying, crying ones lack this and i don't feel compelled to nurture them through their bs as i am not their Nanna, aunt Bessie, or whatever the black woman's name would be that was "like a mother" to them. again, i am not speaking of all white women, nor am i sorry for my position.

i hope that helps you to stand in the light of understanding. as long as white folks reserve the right to be clueless and say "we didn't start the fire" ala billy joel, this mess will never get any better. btw, white supremacy is just as detrimental to white folks as it is to those that are on the receiving end of it; just in case you are interested in what's in it for you to get a clue:-)

BlkSeagoat, provocative post! keep up the good work. dialogue is the beginning...

blessings all,
focusedpurpose

nutmeg96 said...

They ARE hot shoes. :) Black leather Cole Haan strappy sandals.

Like you, I am perhaps hypersensitive to race issues because of my personal experiences, but in a different way. I went to a mostly white grade school, and then I went to an urban high school with no racial majority. All the Rodney King stuff happened during my time there and it was a very racially charged environment at times. It was a seriously eye-opening experience during a formative time of my life. Now, I actually notice when I walk into a lily-white environment, and am somewhat uncomfortable about it, even though I don't stand out personally. If my husband and I have kids, it's important to me that they have an upbringing that exposes them to various cultures/races and socioeconomic backgrounds on a daily basis. I don't think it's realistically possible for my generation to be raceblind, but it would be cool if we drifted toward that in future generations. Call me Pollyanna.

A lot of people are really uncomfortable talking about this stuff -- good discussion you have going here.

Anonymiss said...

I love it. I'd pay to see that. And I commend you for addressing her cuz I'm sure you taught her something.

If that were me, I'd have waited for her to look my way again, mouth an insult, and roll my eyes.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

BlkSeaGoat!

Greetings!

This type of behavior MUST BE confronted! She will think long and hard the next time!

I am glad that you didn't ignore her foolishness and that you approached her. We MUST call people out on their bigotry and prejudice - white or black!

Once, I was on a very-very crowded train and a man told me that I had touched his butt! I lookd at him and said, "Dream on, dreamboat!" and kept it moving. The fact that this woman CRIED indicates that she was completely undone when told about her bigotry.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

mrshadow33 said...

Great Post and even greater discussion. This needs to be brought out into the open and discussed. For the record, I am with my brother blkseagoat in how he confronted that woman. To me she cried simply because he called her out on her racist behavior and she was embarrassed. You did the right thing brother.

SheCodes said...

Hmmm. This is a interesting one, because while I am not particularly concerned about the woman's discomfiture (heck folk make ME uncomfortable all the time and don't seem to care), I would need to know what the goal of confronting her was.

Was it to make her feel like a jackass? Mission accomplished. Was it to make her think twice about behaving in ways that might insult black men? Definitely. Was it to make her believe that her 'black men are scary' thinking was wrong? Probably not. Maybe she couldn't learn that lesson anyway, but now we will never know.

I HAVE confronted white women about certain behaviors, and come to a better understanding/relationship with them about it.

I have ALSO had a few similar episodes similar to blkseagoat's -- I recall a situation when a saleswoman openly trailed me in the department store, obnoxiously ogling me from about 6 feet away at all times. When I opened my purse to get my cellphone out, she almost had conniptions, thinking I was about to slide merchandise into it.

I turned around and confronted her and verbally sliced her to pieces and YES, I made her cry. How many black women were subjected to this ill treatment and held their tears back, only to release the floodgates when they got safely to their cars?

So the tears don't mean jack to me.

However, I didn't bring other 'stuff' into it like her commenting on her unfortunate appearance, flinging expletives etc. Why? because it would dilute my message and give people a false reason to credit her rightness in the situation. People just looove to divide an confrontation down the middle and say that 'you were both wrong'.

At no point could she honestly
claim that I treated her disrespectfully, although she felt the full brunt of my wrath (which I am told is a very scary thing to encounter).

I know you well enough to completely believe you when you say that you approached her in a conversational manner.

I have no problem with talking to her about her troubling behavior, sans the distracting 'fake bag' commentary.

SheCodes said...

oops, I meant "commenting on her unfortunate appearance"

WhozHe said...

Aww, you made the SWF cry. Oh well, I bet she'll think twice before she pulls that stunt again.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

i know that feeling, even in elevators when i taught at emory university

Katie said...

Blkseagoat, I don't see what about the way you talked to her was harsh. Then again, I haven't heard your tone of voice on podcasts, so...I suppose Naima could imagine something I can't? But just imagining the average voice saying what you said and asking what you asked in the average tone of voice...I see a phrasing that was just right in all ways. I'd really been admiring what you did and how you did it.

Katie said...

"How many black women were subjected to this ill treatment and held their tears back, only to release the floodgates when they got safely to their cars?"

This gets at part of what I was thinking. I know it sounds like yet another tangential comparison, but what I was thinking of was what I leared in IMPACT self-defense classes. They taught us that when we speak to a man who is crossing our boundaries, we have the right to say whatever we think of and come away unmolested. Our teachers mentioned that if we thought it was important in our lives to protect ourselves with as little harm to others as possible, of course we could always take their suggestions about how to verbally defend ourselves without hurting the man's feelings. (One example is avoid profanity. Also avoid random angry insults. Another example is repeat the same directive over and over--that way, you won't, as you try to come up with new sentences, stumble upon something that will hurt his feelings.) But morally, no person has the right to hurt us physically because we hurt their feelings. And therefore, because they don't have the right to do that (although they do have the right to walk away yelling obscenities at us, venting over their hurt feelings!), we had the right to defend ourselves against a physical attack, no matter what we said before they physically attacked us.

So anyway...I don't quite know how to verbalize how all this ties in...or how it ties into Shecodes's example of black women hiding tears until out of sight (instead of letting them flow as the emotions happen)...but somehow they do all seem like similar sides of what people do and don't have the "right" to do.

So...yeah...I dunno...somehow what you did seemed to me like...verbal actions that you had the right to do after your boundaries were crossed by that woman.

(And then...her choosing to let her own emotions flow out in tears is her right. Heck, it's even a more socially permitted right than it is for men or for black women, I've learned. But crying on account of the hurt feelings is everyone's right if someone's verbal-reply-re-emphasizing-boundaries-after-their-boundaries-are-crossed. Nevertheless, her having those emotions is not proof, in and of itself, that you acted beyond your rights.)

Am I making any sense?

*eyeroll*

BLKSeaGoat said...

Katie,

Thanks for the support. In Naima's defense though, she's right on some accounts.

On the podcasts, particularly those episodes where I'm speaking with and to people about their foolishness, I have a tendency to spit venom.

I can do it with or without profanity, but this was not one of those times. Had I WANTED to make her cry, I could have. Her irrational reaction to an honest critque about her behavior was puzzling.

This is great dialogue though.

I've only had to reject 3 comments riddled with crap that wasn't post worthy.

BLKSeaGoat said...

Katie,

You're making perfect sense and I like the way you emphasized EVERYONE'S right to act in a way they perceived as appropriate.

I think the only thing I take issue with (and it's only within the context of what happened that night) was that there was no imminent fear or perceived threat. If there was then why not react the SAME way to different men regardless of the circumstances?

Why leave your purse open on a table in a public place anyway? If personal security and safety were issues of priority why act in such dramatic fashion to demonstrate (and distinguish) an irrational fear of black men...black gay men at that?

tasha212 said...

I'm late into the discussion but I commend you blkseagoat on your courage. Many of our people encounter this type of behavior daily and say nothing. I wish more of our men had your courage, character, and forthrightness.

Mari-Djata said...

Ignorance needs to be brought to the light --and to me, the more humiliating, the better. Stupid people are stupid because others allow their stupidity. Thanks for verbally slapping the taste out that chick's mouth BLKSEAGOAT.

Mari-Djata said...

ps: Are you planning to be at Atlanta's Black Pride during the fall?