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Did That Just Happen?

131 replies

AMemeByAnyOtherName · 19/09/2020 11:01

I figured I'd create the thread that @Dastardlythefriendlymutt quite rightly suggested a section for, I think it has traction!

I'm thinking it's a good place to vent, even if it's 'just the small stuff', as is the nature of microaggressions.

I'll start

I've been going for long walks with DTs for the past couple of weeks. I often take them into shops to pick up refreshments to keep things interesting. Last week, not once but twice, I was followed around both a co-op and a Sainsbury's local by a security guard. Literally from the door in to the checkouts to the door out. On the one hand, I could say that it was simply because I had a double buggy and perhaps people with buggies thieving is rife. But you know when you just feel that the intentions aren't right? I absolutely felt as though if I'd been white, it wouldn't have happened.

Another one was walking in to a private medical facility with DH. DTs were in the car with a friend, I just needed the loo. We were in Tunbridge Wells so it was a fair drive. The women at the front desk both looked horrified when I walked in with DH. He noticed it too. They told me I had to disinfect my hands, not him. They asked if I had a mask, and I didn't (which was my own silly fault) so they got a disposable one and put it on for me Hmm I felt really uncomfortable because she had to tie it round the back of my head and I felt like she'd be judging my hair. I used the loo as quickly as I could and got the hell out of there.

Feels good to write it down Grin please share any of your experiences and thanks again to Dastardly for the brilliant suggestion.

OP posts:

Dastardlythefriendlymutt · 23/09/2020 22:49

I dont want to have to soldier on anymore. Talking through these things has made me realise a shit ton of stuff has happened to me that I filed away to get on with things and when asked off the top of my head only a couple of incidents come to mind, when they are hundreds if not more.

I dont want my children to do the same. I want them to have a space to talk through things and deal with them as they happen, without their feelings being minimised or them being gaslit.


EchoCardioGran · 23/09/2020 22:57

Dastardly your children have a great mum. Tell them I said so x


Dastardlythefriendlymutt · 23/09/2020 23:01

Ah thank you Echo. You are so sweet 😊😊😊.

We need to change it for the next generation, they can't be carrying all these microaggressions and soldiering on.


EchoCardioGran · 23/09/2020 23:11

It gets better each generation it really does. It's just that now with
Social Media we know what is going on in the world within seconds.
Sometimes it's just total overload. Good things are happening also.
We'll post about them too x


Heartbreaker83 · 23/09/2020 23:24

Great thread. Have lots to add but too tired so will be back in the morning


OlympicProcrastinator · 24/09/2020 08:08

I visited a white) friend in her very white neighbourhood last week. She took me to an ice cream shop. Above an archway in the shop was an old golly sign that used to be on jam jars on a metal plaque.

I asked the owner why he had it and he looked at me and said, ‘don’t worry, it’s a self deprecating as I’m also not white in this area. I’m Turkish’

What?? Hmm


EchoCardioGran · 24/09/2020 08:54

Two young men I know, were recently told "to go back where they came from" in Manchester.
Huh? Salford?


Phoenix21 · 24/09/2020 10:19

I’ve not read the thread yet but has anyone seen this? Just awful. And explains why we all need to do some unconscious bias training. I learnt a lot about myself from it.

I’m glad this is being taken seriously.


Dastardlythefriendlymutt · 24/09/2020 10:33

I just saw it on Twitter. So glad it is being taken seriously.

It's the usher's job to police who goes where, why are all these random people taking it upon themselves to be self-important and tell people where to go with so much self-awarded importance when it's not their job description?


Ablackrussian · 24/09/2020 10:34

Phoenix21 Oh my! That poor women!

It's the mental gymnastics of having to explain your existence, and that's before you start your day!

And after putting up with all of that, it would put anyone in a negative frame of mind. As an aside: if she is seen as 'guilty' for doing her job (whilst being black), it's not a stretch to see how a lot of convictions are bias.


EchoCardioGran · 24/09/2020 10:45

Well that's just awful to read. I'm not surprised at the member of the public. I think the security guard is the one who needs some serious awareness raising, shouldn't be in the job. The other barrister is an arse and probably a lost cause this time in his career if he is an older man.
( The thread is black women telling their stories, and experiences of day to day racism. )


RedRumTheHorse · 24/09/2020 13:01

When my DD was about 4 months old I went to a local supermarket with her in a sling wearing a coat. The security guards one black guy and one asian guy had seen me enter like that a few times so knew it was a baby. The self-service tills are also next to where they sit and they often help out on them. I also tend to use the till right near them as it is the only one guaranteed to work properly.

Anyway I used the self-service tills as normal though I couldn't bend down properly due to having my daughter on me. One of the shop assistants came over and acted like I was stealing stuff. So I loudly said to her - "What is your problem?" And showed her my DD asleep on me in the sling. She looked suitably embarrassed.


RedRumTheHorse · 24/09/2020 13:08

Also I noticed until Covid that white women would expect me to move out of their way while carrying, pushing or walking with my daughter. I noticed I never got this from men or children including teenagers regardless of ethnicity. In fact men seeing a baby/toddler would automatically step out of the way or let me cross the road.

One old white woman with 3 dogs move out of my way when I was pushing my DD in the buggy when I made it clear I wasn't moving. Then said that I should say thank you to her. I turned around and said "People come before dogs" then walked off.


AMemeByAnyOtherName · 24/09/2020 13:21

@RedRumTheHorse I used to have the same pushchair experience when I was pushing my little brother along in his pushchair. It was always expected that I would be the one to move.

I expected to fight the same battle when I had my own children. But whenever I came face to face with a mum pushing a pushchair, she'd take one look at the twins and step aside Grin. That always feels like a little win Wink

OP posts:

RedRumTheHorse · 24/09/2020 13:36

@AMemeByAnyOtherName my DP who is white, actually noticed this as well particularly when they have walked or ridden into me. I had to tell him he wasn't allowed to have a go at the white women who do it because he would be seen as the aggressor if she acts like a victim.


Dastardlythefriendlymutt · 24/09/2020 13:52

RedRum and Meme wow I thought I was overthinking it and reading way too much into things but this consistently happened to me with DC, one went so far to bark at me to get out the way?!? Why would I go onto oncoming traffic with my buggy and baby when you can easily pass with your shopping.

The mind boggles


Ablackrussian · 24/09/2020 14:40

Women are more spiteful, in my opinion, and very sly with it.

I've never had any trouble at work from the men that I have worked alongside, or my male family members. But I can tell you plenty of situations from female work colleagues, and family members, where I have been constantly 'othered' Hmm.
Luckily, I have a great group of (white/black) friends who just seem normal. They are/have been in mixed r'ships so maybe that could be why.

And yes, The mind boggles.


Dastardlythefriendlymutt · 24/09/2020 14:49

It's also because they can quickly resort to tears when called out for it and you suddenly become the aggressor (angry black woman) - next thing you know you are expected to and most likely apologising to someone who has just abused you. If you refuse it serves as their confirmation bias that you are indeed problematic and stirring up trouble, seeing racism where there is none because they don't see colour.

It escalates fast.


Ablackrussian · 24/09/2020 18:58

Dastardlythefriendlymutt yes, to this. I had one colleague who treated me appallingly and also got other co-workers to 'gang' up on me. When I did call her out on it (we are talking a couple of years later), she stormed out the office in tears, while I was sat there like Hmm

Oddly enough, we are on okay terms fact, I never did have a problem with her, she did with me. I don't work there anymore. But, every now and then, she'll message me, asking me over, or out for a coffee and for some strange reason, I've got better things to do Hmm

The whole situation was peculiar.


Heartbreaker83 · 24/09/2020 19:02

When at work talking to fellow employee. Mentioned that my partner was off work with my son as he was ill. Employee tells me how shocked she was that my partner would stay at home with our son and that I was lucky I had a good man who is involved with his kids.

Another employee telling me that she would never date a black man because her daughters dad was black and he was awful. That one really shocked me.

Another employee being so amazed by my Afro she wanted to touch it, I said “it’s only hair, you don’t need to touch it” she then went on to say “I know but it’s amazing I wished my hair was like that” I said it’s not nice to touch people’s hair - she was shocked and said she didn’t see what was the big deal, she wouldn’t mind if people wanted to touch her hair.

Another employee telling me she can’t wait to have a tan and come back from hols the same colour as me.

An assumption that I eat and can make jollof rice (I’m Caribbean and I can’t sadly).

Being talked down to and assuming I have no knowledge of a particular subject when I have worked in the field for over 7 years.

Being called an African queen when I wore a head scarf.

Being asked what hair dye I used when I changed my hair colour from red to blonde. (It was a wig) I was caught between wanting to lie about what dye I used or having to explain why I choose to wear wigs and my hair journey.

Being asked directly why I wear wigs and why choose not to wear my hair naturally.

Being talked about under the breath of 2 white pensioners and given daggers on the bus because I sat at the front in the priority seat. In my defence I was going one stop and all 6 seats were empty; 2 ladies got on the bus so there were plenty of priority seats.

I could go on . . . .

Most of these instances have been in the workplace when I’ve been the only black woman so did not feel comfortable confronting them, in fear of the ‘angry black woman’ label. Instead I just ranted at dp (sometimes in tears) when I got home.

So glad we have space that we can share these instances, and hopefully we can prepare for good come backs!!

Sorry that was much longer than I anticipated!!!


Ablackrussian · 24/09/2020 19:19

Heartbreaker83. I can relate to most of these. The thing I don't get it the sudden shifts in attitude (from some of them). It's like, okay, she's not gonna bite, so we may as well be nice Hmm

Luckily the last two places I have worked, colour hasn't been an all. They have all genuinely been great people Smile


Dastardlythefriendlymutt · 24/09/2020 19:50

Yes I can relate to all of these Heartbreaker83 and Ablackrussian.

I used to be quiet about touching my hair even though it didn't sit well with me, but I lost it at a lady who decided to invite herself and touch DS's hair when he was a baby asking if it will become woolly when he got older. A whole stranger, having the nerve to treat my son like a doll, I could have strangled her. She looked shocked being told off but what would happen to me if I decided to touch a stranger's white baby?

Since then I set my boundaries very clearly. I will not allow anyone to dehumanize me or my children.

It's sad how having children made me stand up for myself and them. I wonder if I'd still be letting things slide if I hadn't.

(I get asked to make rice and peas and jollof all the time- I'm neither West African or Carribean so can't do either). I also speak a couple of African languages with clicks and have had colleagues mocking me making unintelligible clicking noises and dancing about like how I imagine they think cavemen do. I found that incredibly insulting but was too scared to lay a complaint. I wish I had.


Ablackrussian · 24/09/2020 20:03

I also speak a couple of African languages with clicks and have had colleagues mocking me making unintelligible clicking noises and dancing about like how I imagine they think cavemen do.

Wow! Hmm


Johnny1963 · 24/09/2020 21:52

I'm often the only Black person in the room at work and so much of this is familiar. The tedious polite conversation where people try to place you or catch you out as they can't believe your level of seniority and your education.

But honestly it's the unexpected ones that get you. Chatting to a director who I've worked with for a while and always got on with. We're at the tea point and I mention how much I need a second cup of coffee. Quick as a flash he tells me not to have too much or I'll be breakdancing across the office. I'm a middle aged mum WTF!

As a new grad I was often asked to do show off my non-existent gospel/rapping/beatboxing skills for some away day or talent show. 20 years on and it's still the same shit.

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