Walking While Wearing a Hoodie

Jennifer, April 22, 2017
Do I look like a certain stereotype?

Today, I got an inkling of what it must be like being an African-American in the United States of America.
It was cold and raw today, so I wore my hoodie and mittens.
As I was checking my phone before finishing up my walk, I heard this angry voice behind me:
“Hello? Hello? Can I help you with something?”
At first, I ignored it – he couldn’t possibly be speaking to me. I didn’t know him, and he had no reason to speak to me like that.
Again, he yelled, “I said, ‘Hello, can I help you with something?’”
Confused, I turned around, and said, “No, I’m fine.”
A young man – maybe mid-20’s – in shorts and a t-shirt, stopped short, obviously embarrassed. He slunk away.
Why this happened didn’t hit me until I was about two blocks away; yes, this is what it’s like being white in America – on a visceral level, we just don’t get what African-Americans experience every day.

It took me two blocks to figure it all out, and that is sad.


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