A Black Woman Sat Beside Us

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A black woman sat beside us. She was on the phone telling someone about her injured foot. Meanwhile, her leg was stretched out and as people passed they eyed her, questioning her right to take up that much room. Maybe she was bored. Maybe she was loopy from medication. Maybe she just needed to talk to someone else and there we were. After she got off the phone, she started telling us too of her injury. It 's hard to move around, she told us. I 've been out all day trying to find a new job and my foot hurts like hell. What happened? Fell down my apartment stairs last week. You should have someone helping you, especially walking around in the city, I said. She sighed. I know. My son was supposed to help me but he 's got this…show more content…
There was silence, I imagined her internally questioning why she was telling two white people the problems they would probably never face, but that didn’t stop her from telling us the ending. They hired a white girl to replace me. She was being trained the day I left. They can 't just do that can they? I asked. They already did, she said. I grew up checking off the Caucasian box, not knowing what this privilege meant until moments like this. And this wasn’t some dramatic event like the stories we saw unfolding on the news where white policemen killed innocent black people. It wasn 't like those movies I saw: Do the Right Thing, where a pizza shop burned to the ground due to violence caused by racial differences or in Bamboozled when the black characters were shot to death and the white man was left standing, begging to know why he wasn 't shot too. This moment was subtle, but still, it erupted in my life like a tiny, homemade bomb that left everything I owned disheveled, almost destroyed forever. It made me want to ask all those in power until I got an answer why progress has not been completely made. I can continue to ask these questions—force these secluded places and people to think about a meaningful answer, especially now when the gap between us and them is still so far apart. Their voices though, are a sick chant all singing together. Usually it’s over the Internet. A loud speaker for all of America to hear. When Michael Brown and
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