Wait…ONLY Black People?

black people tweet

That’s a tweet that has been going around social media, as fatuous tweets often do.

My questions in response:

  • Why only black people? I try to smile at all people I encounter. Yesterday I waved at a black neighbor I have never met while walking Spuds—but not because he was black. He waved back.
  • Solidarity with what? The reason you smile at strangers is to express solidarity with the community, the nation, the human race. If my smile is supposed to mean “I believe you are an oppressed victim of this rotten racist nation and white people like me, and I’m with you, bro!” then to hell with it.
  • If you smile only at the blacks in a crowd, what are you saying to everyone else? Isn’t that pandering? Isn’t that insulting and condescending to the black being grinned at?
  • What if the response to your smile is a snub? How should you take that? [Relevant: this post.]

13 thoughts on “Wait…ONLY Black People?

  1. I’d advise the opposite. John Derbyshire, although National Review deemed it a firing offense, said to avoid concentrations of black people not known to you personally and also to be polite but keep moving if approached by a black not known to you in the street. These days you don’t know what anyone will do.

      • I guess I don’t frequent those places.

        I try to make eye contact when in public. And I’ll even admit to making an extra effort when encountering black people. They tend to make eye contact more readily than do whites. (I know, racist!) I kind of get a kick out of it. It just takes an edge off things.

        • Totally different deal for women, by the way. When I’m out for a morning unconstitutional, women are terrified of men. Maybe they have good reason to be. It takes very confident women to acknowledge men in the street. And guys could very well take a smile completely wrong.

  2. I must admit that in public spaces I am constantly in situational awareness / threat assessment mode and therefore closely watching the behavior of individuals and groups within my sight. Part of this is trying to make casual eye contact, and either verbally (saying “Hi”) or non-verbally (a smile or even just a nod) acknowledging the presence of anyone who comes within “speaking distance.” I am more suspicious of people who obviously ignore me or who seem to mind being acknowledged. This is an occupational habit from learning (and training others in) these survival skills that has stayed with me into my retirement years. Of course, a precursor to all this is recognizing those places and situations one should avoid entirely if at all possible.

  3. I think casual encounters like being in a grocery store or watching a sports event are pretty safe. A friendly comment or perhaps some humor isn’t likely to trigger anybody. In the school district I worked in I was around blacks a lot and that’s been helpful in judging where you can be friendly and where to keep your mouth shut.

    • O’Hare Airport will probably never welcome me back after an exchange I had with their whole hall. Some other jerk was trying to figure out some issue or other with a ticket, because, like a lot of us, he needed to make a connecting flight. While the clerk turned away to figure out whatever, I tried to say something I thought would be helpful. His response was to snap at me, “not interested in making small talk with you, sir!” I said I was trying to help, only to get the same line. Then I got angry, just what the fuck was this guy’s problem? I turned and BELLOWED out into the hall of the airport, and as a lawyer I can fill a courtroom and more, “HEY! THIS GUY’S NOT INTERESTED IN MAKING SMALL TALK! DID YOU HEAR THAT? HE’S TOO GOOD TO BE CIVIL! BOY MUST HE BE FUCKING SPECIAL! HE’S JUST TOO GODDAMNED SPECIAL TO BE CIVIL! HE MUST BE GOD’S GIFT TO THE FUCKING WORLD!”

      I think everyone turned to me, I turned and was ready to fight, but at that point I was handed my own ticket by the clerk and told to get on my way by the transit police. I did, but not before telling that guy “Fuck you and your family!” I’d do it again too. I really hate disrespectful jerks, and if that had resulted in a fistfight, I’d have been perfectly ok with it. Most people don’t do too well when you smash their head repeatedly against the nearest hard surface.

  4. At the end of the draconian CA Wuhan Virues restrictions but still in the midst of BLM foolishness, I was sitting at pation table by myself having lunch. I had my kindle open and was minding my own business. A white woman at the table next to me was having a loud conversation about political topics with a man who was far too accomodating of her woke Karen-like opinions and righteousness (probably wanting to get laid). When the man went to the restroom she walked up to me, I only noticed because her shadow loomed over me. I looked up and she said, “I want you to know that you matter.” She then blew me a kiss with both of her hands and gave me what can only describe as a pitying smile – perhaps I am being too cynical.

    It was on the tip of my tongue to say, “You don’t” but I just gave her an awkward thank you.

    Clearly other black folks don’t mind things like that and “acts of solidarity” – but I’d much prefer people not social signal at me.

  5. My wife is continually exasperated with me. I related a recent story, only for her to shake her head.

    See, I was lunching with some friends and had to wash my hands. On my way to the restroom, I walked by a table occupied by a woman. She looked up at me and I said, in awful Spanglish, “Hi, senorita!” with every awful English and Spanish inflection and accent as possible.

    The woman glared at me, and demanded to know what I said. So, doofus that I am, obliged, with the same awful Spanglish. She said, in a huff, “I don’t speak Spanish! What makes you think I speak Spanish?!”

    Now, I am not really one too back off when someone is being a jerk, so I said, “well, nothing made think it; I just said it because I wanted to. Is there a problem?” She told me I was presumptuous. I told her she was ridiculous and walked away.

    On my return to our table she started in on me again, this time adding race to her list of grievances. Now, I was offended by being accused of racism because I spoke horrible Spanglish to a black woman. I pushed back, hard, confronting her about the basis for her accusation. She had none and eventually backed down.

    It was interesting, to say tge least.

    jvb

  6. How long before this “viral” nonsense is answered by an even more woke person stating that smiling at black people is an aggression, that it’s “emotional labor” for them to endure your smiling, etc? In fact, I’ll bet such a response is already floating around out there, but it’s too much emotional labor for me to look for it…

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