I have been seeing a lot of videos on Tik Tok, talking about white allies. Which is wonderful because as a white person it can be really difficult to navigate the waters of race relations in modern times. And, we are literally one species on planet Earth, so until we all learn to work together, we will always be working against one another. And until we collectively recognize that privilege exists, and that members of the black community are being murdered because they are black- we are going to be hamsters, in a wheel, for perpetuity… So here goes.
I managed a doggy day care for several years before going to law school. There are a ton of locations in the city. The staff is very diverse, and they offer a bunch of different services, one of which is dog walking. I am a rockstar with operations, and maps, but also maybe not because NYC is just a grid, but anyway, for many years I was the go-to for training walkers.
One day, as I was training one of the girls about the Upper East grid, she asked me a question. It may have been about an identification card, or what if a doorman gives her pushback, or something to that effect. Whatever the question was, it was about gaining entry into a building. My response, being the white, New Yorker that I am, was something along the lines of, “just tell them you work for So and So, and you’re literally here to get the dog and just walk on by.” She responds that she is not going to do that, and I’m like okay, why? Why- is because she can’t. Because an African American person cannot exist in a public space without the threat of violence, let alone storm her way into a Manhattan building the way that I would, and do every day of my life. And that is because her life, is literally on the line. That is the privilege that white people are cloaked in every day of their lives, and the dignity that black individuals are denied every day of theirs, if they are even lucky enough to see another day. Which brings me to the next harrowing tale on this journey.
Since moving to Pennsylvania for school I have become the victim of debit card fraud every three months, and I’m a poor student so I have no clue what anyone thinks they’re getting. But it has led me to have to rely on checks until a new debit card arrives; good thing I was born in the 80’s. Over the years, when this happens, I go to the supermarket, get some groceries, pay by check and get cash back. This past December, I was tired of my bank and went somewhere new. I was the victim of fraud again, and in no time was at the supermarket trying to use a check drawn on my new account. Everything was going fine until the cashier starts to look around a bit. She tells me there is an issue and has to get the manager. Two individuals come over, a female and a younger male. They tell me that there is an issue with my check, they try to blame it on my fraudulent debit card, and tell me to call the number on the bottom of the receipt saying not to take my check. Of course they have no clue that I was a cashier for many years, a general manager for even more, and I just completed a course on payment systems, so I know everything that they are telling me is wrong. But literally none of that matters because I am alive to tell you this story. And it is because I am white. And George Floyd was murdered because he is black. And that, for anyone, literally anyone still confused, is what privilege looks like America in 2020. And so now I ask you, how would you move forward if I told you that the supermarket gave me all of my groceries for free on that day. Rest In Peace. And may George Floyd be the last life taken by violence and racism in this country, on this planet.