*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I shared an article recently about a sad experience I encountered at an airport some years back where a White cashier ignored me and asked the White guy in front of me to proceed when I was clearly the first in line. The overwhelmingly positive reactions that I received from hundreds of readers were so encouraging and uplifting. I must however also point out that there were also several comments that were sad to read. There were people saying the experience never happened while others completely minimized it.
One reader said, "Damn!! I wish I knew this was RACISM!! Hell, this has happened to me a LOT!! And like YOUR case, the person informed them that I was next!!! No issue, accidents happen!! Oh, and btw, I’m a WHITE MALE!! Your incident was NOT RACISM!!!! It was an accident!! And YOU, being a RACIST, couldn’t wait to play your race card!!! YOU ARE the problem!"
I have been asked many times to provide my ID after using my credit card when the White person in front of me wasn't. Police have been called on me when walking in a predominantly White neighborhood. I worry about my black boys going to the store by themselves and pray that they will return safely. I have been denied promotions many times and a less inexperienced White person has been promoted instead. I have way too many incidences to even count.
These experiences accumulate over time and can negatively impact a person's mental well-being. Racial trauma, which is also known as race-based traumatic stress, is the set of consequences that occur when a person of color deals with racism and discrimination. It encapsulates the varied psychological, mental, and emotional harm that is caused by witnessing racism and discrimination and by experiencing it firsthand.
As we continue to heal as a collective, it's critical that we pay attention to how our words may impact others. Are they healing or are they causing more harm?
I will end with this beautiful comment from another reader, " You chose the mature thing to do. This is what it’s going to take to turn things around. And those ppl that are doing what this cashier did is inexcusable". They call out the unacceptable behavior while also acknowledging and validating the experience.
Thanks for reading my article. Please don’t forget to like it, comment, and share it with friends and family
Disclaimer: This article is written for educational and informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized support. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.
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