In the past, I’d have sought that comfort out in a white man, but that night I knew it wouldn’t be enough.
It’s not that I don’t think white people are anxious; two months into Trump’s presidency, most of the white people in my life are activated.
No matter how close I held the mirror up to their faces, sometimes their good and liberal wells of understanding and compassion were simply inaccessible.
On election night, I thought about all those moments, and I felt overwhelmed at the possibility of taking that on over the next four years.
While I tried to explain to this man why what he was saying was offensive, my boyfriend stood there in silence.
“Can I say the N-word if I’m singing along to a song? ” (I don’t know dude, I ask myself the same question every goddamn day.) I know that I shouldn’t feel compelled to always speak for my race, but I can’t expect a white boyfriend to stop asking some of those questions if we’re to come to a mutual understanding.
Lately, though, I just don’t feel like answering them.
The other day, I was on the subway platform playing my usual game, and I caught the eye of a black guy.
It felt different this time, like the flirtatious version of the “black nod” at work — an acknowledgement between two black employees who might not even know one another, but who have a shared experience.