Tuesday, July 26, 2016

White means invisible

I've a friend who says

I'm 6-foot-6, 280 lbs, and in most of America I'm invisible to authority figures, because I'm white, mainstream, nerdy, not inked, boring. 

My job has me walk around a lot of city streets, and take a lot of public transit. I watch the authority figures - regardless of race - eyeball the non-whites near me, but their eyes roll right over me.  

This goes mostly for my fellow bystanders, too. Women react to my presence, but rarely ever men.

In heavily Asian neighborhoods, I'm a curiosity - a silly anomaly, who may buy something, or not.

In Latino and black neighborhoods, I'm a fool, and that's how they look at me. Not so much animosity, as incredulity. Then again, I've never tried walking there at night. 

In white neighborhoods, no one even notices me. I'm just another guy walking through.