Social media is really making the world look more volatile than it actually is. For some reason, the media loves to stir up fear and anger in people than inspire joy or happiness. No doubt 2020 has been the craziest year in my 24 years of life but it still IS NOT THAT BAD.
Today, I took a trip to Target to get notebooks for journaling and take notes on a nutrition book I am reading. In New Mexico, you have to wear masks to enter stores. Or so I thought. I put my BS Supreme mask on to satisfy the rule and as I was on the elevator, I saw a man behind that didn’t have a mask.
So I asked him, “They didn’t say anything about you not having a mask?” He replied that he doesn’t wear them but keeps them in his back pocket in case someone tells him he needs a mask.
I immediately took mine off and put it in my pocket. And we got to talking about the coronavirus and how dumb these masks are. Yes, I think at this point the masks are useless not only because the virus has been around for a while, but many doctors have also put out videos on the non-effectiveness of these masks mainly due to how society uses them and the types of masks being used. I mean my supreme mask has breathing holes for the mouth and nose, it ain't stopping anything.
Our conversation was definitely a product of how target was set up, people have to flow one way in and one way out. So, we just kept chopping it up and the man stops and asks me if I have ever experienced racism in NM. He was a white guy from a small town in New Mexico and told me he has never seen it for himself and wanted to know how real the problem is.
Before you jump to any conclusions and claim the guy is an idiot because there are obvious displays in the media.
It’s one thing viewing a problem on TV, it is an entirely different experience living it.
I told him about the time I had purchased some chairs from Home Depot online and went to the store to pick them up. On my way out I was followed by a man who had clearly profiled me as someone that was stealing, even after picking up the chairs from the pickup location in the store. The man followed me out of the store, to my car and proceeded to videotaped me and ask me if I bought the chairs. Angry as hell, I cursed him out and to this day I wish I would’ve broken his phone. But I am glad I didn't blow up on him like I wish I did.
I have experienced racism in just about every state I have lived in from NJ, AZ, IL, and NM. You can’t expect people to live a reality that isn’t theirs, you can only explain, allow them to understand and act on the acquired perspective.
We continued to talk about how important these conversations are. In a short time, we spoke about police not all being bad people, and the actions of one should not warrant labeling an entire population. I mean that’s what racists do to black and brown people!
It is really hard not to do that because society runs on labeling, but it is also why we create false acquisitions towards people we don’t know. It’s important not to do that because how do make friends if you think you have someone figured out before you even know their name?
Finally, he asked me, “What can I do as a White man?” I told him to be a good fucking person, that is it. That conversation meant so much to me, a random dude gave a fuck about how I feel going through everyday life in a country that is sometimes painted ugly by the voices of extremely angry people. I am not doubting nor denying the problem or anyone’s feelings. The problem is real, and it’s been around for a while.
At 14, I was profiled and because of that I was thrown on the hood of a police car and searched for drugs and weapons, suspected of planning to rob my friend’s house due to a phone call from the neighbor. Luckily for me, the cop called the neighbor to make sure I said the right name of the person that lived there, or else I would’ve just gone to jail. Imagine if I carried a grudge towards white people for 10 years?
I wouldn’t have been able to have this conversation.
I would not have been able to provide meaningful insight into someone that was clearly seeking it.
With that said, I could’ve approached this conversation one or two ways. I could tell him about all the white privileges that you see floating around social media to make him potentially feel worse about being a white guy. I mean white guys are easy targets to be labeled as racists right now for any reason.
Or I could tell him, thank you for considering my feelings, if you want to help me be good to people who look like me and don’t be afraid to have more of these conversations. I think the route I choose left a more positive impact on him. He sure as hell left a positive impact on me.
We ended the conversation and hugged it out.
Two strangers, just going to grab something quick from the store and decided the world needs more conversation, in-person conversation. A lot of people are on social media, but your thought has to be concise which is good sometimes and the long thoughts on Facebook are way too annoying to read. It is not comfortable having these conversations with friends, let alone strangers but if you want to gain perspective or share yours more effectively, talk to people. I feel really good about that conversation, I feel as though I put positivity into this world that seems to be continuously attacked with negative information.
Racism won’t end soon. I know that. But if people can just be good fucking people to each other regardless of the situation or color of your skin or clothes you decide to wear maybe we can shorten the timeline. Maybe not, but I refuse to let the media cast a dark cloud over people I haven’t met. Especially when I can have conversations that validate me having faith in the world.
And you shouldn’t either. I hope you find some joy in this story. The world needs more of it.
I will leave you with a quote I read the other day that can apply to any aspect of your life.
“Pay attention to thoughts, because they become words. Pay attention to your words, because they become actions. Pay attention to your actions, because they become habits. Pay attention to your habits, because they become your character. Pay attention to your character, because it is your fate.”
From the Talmud