I just went to a convenience store a couple of blocks from our apartment, and walking in just before me was a black fellow who started loudly voicing his anger about being constantly watched when he enters the store and about one of the store’s employees threatening to call the cops on him if he didn’t leave. He claimed he had done nothing wrong, and his voice was cracking as though he was holding back tears. As he stood there defending himself, voice cracking, the two men behind the counter showed little interest in his words or his emotion. One of them motioned for me to hand him my dollar, and I did and walked out.
I’m thinking back on having done this and am ashamed of myself. I’ve never been watched in stores, so far as I know, and I’ve certainly never defended myself to deaf ears. I am privileged and with that I believe I have a responsibility to not only notice discrimination but to take a stand, no matter how little a stand I might take. I shouldn’t have given that store my dollar. I’m not ashamed for not having spoken up – I have no facts of the events described. But I did not have to support the store yet did so. I offer an apology.