Last week I went to Aldi to pick up a few things on my way home from work. I didn't have a quarter to get a cart so I walked through the store with my arms full, trying my best to make it to the check out line without dropping anything or seeing anything else I needed. Of course, by the time I made it to the line, there were 5,000 people waiting in line, all of which appeared to be doing a SUPER grocery haul for the week. Great. For some reason, every time I go in Aldi it's this way, and they only have one register open! Finally, a middle aged white guy came from the produce section and opened another register. There were 3 people in front of me at this point, so I still had to wait a while. While waiting, I noticed how friendly and chatty the gentleman was that was ringing people up. He greeted each person and then made small talk. "Oh! I've been meaning to try these chips, are they any good?" You know, stuff like that. Now, Im terribly bad at small talk so I had to take a break from listening in on all of the pleasantries to think of what I was going to say when it was my turn. Yes, I'm an introvert, don't judge me.
So, it was finally my turn and I was all geared up for our brief conversation on the weather, and when I got to the register I was met with silence. I mean like... crickets. So much so, I had to come out of my introverted self and speak first! This messed up my whole plan because I was supposed to be the one answering the questions, not asking! When I spoke to him, he looked up at me, and honestly, I couldn't tell if the look on his face was surprise, or guilt...like he was caught doing something wrong. I immediately felt deflated. #1 Because I was sort of looking forward to having a pleasant conversation after planning it out in my mind, and #2 because I think my race played a part in why he didn't speak. I was the only black person in the store and I fear he either didn't think I would speak to him because he was a middle age white man and I am black, or because he didn't want to speak to me because I am black. Perhaps It was neither, perhaps it had nothing to do with my skin...but, those things being viable reasons in my mind are reasons why we really need to come together as a community.
I scroll through my social media timelines and I can tell we have an underlying discomfort toward each other right now. I see three different groups of people. Those that are disappointed and angered by the amount of people that seem to be tolerant of racism and prejudice. Then, you have the people that are fearful of appearing to be racist, and then you have the people that actually are racist. It seems that everybody is displaying defensiveness about one thing or another, and I think it's time for us to call a spade a spade. I can tell some people are uncomfortable with the title of the race, but I think its something that needs to be addressed head on. We have to be able to stand up and out for things as dangerous and hurtful as racism. If you are fearful of saying the word, or participating because you don't know what your friends or "followers" will say, you should ask yourself if you are tolerant of racism or if you are against it. If you're against it, this is an EASY way for us to be allies to each other in a safe place where you can send a message without ever having to speak a word. It's also a nice way to kick off your Juneteenth celebrations! Register NOW for the race at RacismisPetty.com or click the link above. Spoiler alert: the price will go up in April. The following is a quick video on why I chose to have this event.