Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Silence or Shame

On Thursday I watched a white woman walk in to the store I was shopping in with her mask pulled off her nose. She's walked in past an employee who let her enter despite both posted store policy and State mandate.

It was irritating, but I let it go until she got in line nearby. I asked her to put her mask over her nose.

She ignored me, turning her back on me and sighing. I note that I still want her to put on her mask.

I ask an employee to help. They ignore it.

I keep talking loudly in line.

I am shamed by another white woman for, "Talking too much and it's sending more germs out your mask!"

A third white woman faux sympathizes and tells me something like, "You can't control everyone, that's why we wear our masks correctly. Just ignore her, let it go already!"

First white woman stands with hey mask still off her face halfway, nose with fingers in ears.

I waved down the employee who had greeted me at the entrance, who let this woman in while wearing the mask incorrectly. He comes over, she FINALLY puts her mask up!

"She looks fine now.", he says.

I thank him for staying there.

I lean over to say that I appreciate that he's enforcing policy when he puts up a cautioning hand towards me to calm down!

So the white woman who was not following the rules and behaving unsafely, selfishly, possibly played the, "I'm feeling threatened by that loud, angry woman!", and I get the cautioning hand for it.

I'm tied of the way being outspoken gets other white women to pile on with the shame because I'm not being a good girl. I'm so fed up with the politics of niceness and kindness and not making a scene.

CK suggested I come up with a phrase I'll just repeat loudly about refusing to be silent and complicit on behavior that furthers a health crises.

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