Now You See Me, Now You Don't

Now you see me. Now you don’t.

My boss walked past me twice yesterday. Both times he didn’t speak. He didn’t even see me.

But 45 minutes earlier, he was all up in my face asking me for dance advice.

It’s the Southern Black girl in me that’s going off: “How you gon walk past me twice, and not speak?!”

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Whenever I see another Black woman on the train or in the store, I always try to make eye contact and smile.

“I see you, Sister.”

I see your natural hair and I see your beautiful skin and I see that yellow popping against your melanin.

Most importantly, I see myself in you.

I hope they see themselves in me so I smile and say, “Hello,” hoping that they feel a little more shored up and steady as they move through the rest of their day.

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I noticed a Black man yesterday as I was walking up to the train platform. I always notice Black folks when I see them here in Utah, but his shirt really caught my attention.

“I Hope I Don’t Get KILLED Today For Being Black,” it said.

I quickened my step because the train was coming, and I needed to get across the tracks.

But as I passed him, I looked up in his face and gave him the biggest smile.

“I see you, Brother,”

He smiled back.

“I see you, Sister.”

I held my crowned head a little bit higher in the office that morning knowing that somewhere, there was a Black man bravely disrupting the system with his chest. I hope it sparked a conversation on his train ride to wherever he was going. I hope he made some folks uncomfortable. I hope he is safe.

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I work at this marketing firm that does direct marketing for different brands. I’m working on this skincare campaign. I stand in Sam’s Club for six to eight hours a day offering to show people how it works.

“We wish you had nice, pretty skin like yours,” this one white couple said.

But do you really want to be me?

Or do you want to try me on for a day?