This continues after my post from yesterday. I was really angry and upset about what happened. Before I wrote the story on my blog, I wrote a few tweets. I deleted them, because the conversation was headed in a direction I wasn’t comfortable with and I didn’t want this person’s comments showing up on my thread.
I deleted the tweets, so I can’t say word for word exactly what this woman and I said. I’m trying not to exaggerate or paint her in a bad light. I’d rather focus on my reaction rather than what she said. But you need to know what I read, so you understand why I reacted this way.
Her reply was fairly light. She said I probably did the right thing, but she wished someone would come to her aid whenever someone was harassing her. She got harassed all the time.
I laughed and said something like, well he’d only be helpful if a black guy harassed you. Otherwise he’d be useless.
She said. He’d be useful to me. My harassers are almost all black.
I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I tried to keep it light. How could I know for sure what her life experience was? Maybe black men harassed her all the time. I didn’t ant to argue about that. Neither of us could prove anything to get anywhere.
I tried to steer the conversation in a different direction. I said that was funny. Nearly all guys I remember harassing me were white. (Mostly because even when I lived in very diverse areas, a large chunk of the population was always white. More white guys in an area means more white guys around to harass people.) Maybe she lives in Nigeria or Ghana — so there are almost no white guys there. No clue.
She went on. She said that black men harassed her all the time. In the next few tweets she described all of the awful things they did. I had no idea what to say. I didn’t want to say something nasty because I had no idea who she was or what her life experience was.
But then she mentioned, “asking for money.” And for some reason, that set me off. It sounded too much like the crazy greeter guy from yesterday. It was too familiar. I told her that I didn’t like where the conversation was going.
I question her perception, not her honesty.
I didn’t want to give her my opinion about her perception. My guess is that she remembers the black harassers better than the white ones. I also think she might have two different opinions about what harassment was based on who she encountered. Maybe she wasn’t threatened when a white man said she had a beautiful smile, but when a black man said it, she felt intimidated. This is fairly common. It’s confirmation bias in action. She’s unconsciously a bit wary of black men, so she notices it more when they harass her.
But maybe she just lives in a community that’s almost all black, so there are just more black guys out there to harass people? I don’t know. When I was young and pretty, I lived in San Francisco. I lived in a neighborhood that was almost entirely Latino. I worked in a neighborhood where Louis Farrakhan gave an outdoor speech once — and nearly the entire neighborhood vanished to go see him. I think I was the only person left on the entire block. So it’s not like I almost never got harassed by black guys because there weren’t any around.
The majority of men who harassed me were white. I have theories, but who knows? Maybe I’m a fluke. Maybe I wasn’t pretty enough for a black guy to bother? (Kidding.. mostly.) I’m old and fat now, so nobody harasses me anymore.
I deleted the thread.
I stopped talking to her, but every time I looked at the thread I felt a bit sick. I didn’t want to call her out, but I didn’t want to look like I supported her at all. I didn’t want someone talking like that on my feed. I only delete tweets when I make typos or put the wrong link or quote in a tweet. This is the first time I purged a bunch of tweets to censor a conversation.
Maybe I did the wrong thing. I just felt dirty having that on my feed, but I didn’t want to say anything to her. Who knows? Maybe for whatever reason this was her real experience. I doubt it, but still.
It’s “all about me”
I asked some people their opinion about the situation. They asked me why I deleted and I told them. I didn’t get a reply, but I got likes, so maybe that’s a small sign of approval.
This woman comes back and says that she was sorry. She had no idea her posts were offensive. I said that her experience may be true, but there are far more stories right now where guys weren’t harassing anyone and ended up dead when someone had a distorted perception of the events.
I said maybe her story was true, but my focus was about a guy doing nothing wrong and might have had the cops set on him. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning that she got harassed by black men before, but why did she have to go on about it in great detail? Why did she have to sound exactly like that Walmart greeter?
Couldn’t she see that maybe this wasn’t the place to dump all this? Couldn’t she agree that the way she was talking was getting black men wrongly arrested or even killed? Why not speak your piece and move on? I said she wasn’t so nasty. I just thought maybe she needed to look at what she said from another perspective. No matter how true what she said was, she didn’t have to go into that much detail or say things that normally are a sign of someone overreacting to a POC.
So she sent back two replies. “I’m sorry my personal life story was so offensive” “I will never share my life experiences on Twitter ever again.” Huff huff huff. I was done being nice. I told her that I wasn’t going feel guilty for hurting her feelings over this. She’d have to find somewhere else to act like the martyr.
Maybe it was because I was already in a foul mood, but I thought. “Isn’t that just typical?” How many times has a white person been called out for saying something crude and offensive and the person acts like hurting their feelings was much worse than anything they said?
Trevor Noah has insight
Trevor Noah was interviewed
once and said that in America, people were more afraid of being called a racist than they were of being a racist. He also said people didn’t believe that there are degrees of racism. Just because you don’t say “the N word” and you don’t wear a white hood, doesn’t mean you’re not racist. Thee are so many miles per hour between zero and light speed. You can’t claim you’re not moving at all just because you’re slower than a speeding bullet.
Back to the Twitter thing
Anyway, what’s your opinion on this mess? Deleting the stuff might have been the wrong call. Yelling at some kid half my age or ignoring it was very unsavory to me. Did I have better options?