The difference

I recently went to a recruitment meeting for an activist group. I didn’t know anybody there, as is often the case when I go somewhere to volunteer. And I was really struck by the different impression I got as opposed to many of the recent majority white group meetings I’ve attended.

So what was different?

1. People acknowledged me. When I walked in, people called out to me and introduced themselves.

2. Everyone appeared to be included in the discussion. People were encouraged to share their opinions.

3. People physically opened the group when other people came in. They pushed out chairs, they motioned for others to sit, they moved their own belongings. When people were standing in groups talking and others approached, people moved to open the circle.

4. The organizer of the group asked everybody for contact information. She then checked to make sure she had the information from all attendees. I suspect I will get a call or an e-mail or both.

5. Afterwards, a number of people stood around talking. I did not see any single person standing outside of a group, being excluded.
I felt so popular and good looking I could hardly stand it. Quite a contrast.

3 thoughts on “The difference

  1. Thank you so much for writing. This is one of my most favorite reads and a blog that I spend so much time nodding along with. A friend and I like to (partly facetiously) list things “only a white person” would do to us and the list rang true. My latest addition was at an orientation the other day, when I came back from a break to find my seat taken by someone chatting with the person who had been sitting next to me. I waited (everyone was returning to their original seats) right nearby and said hello to my other former neighbor. After about a minute, the girl looked over and said, “Oh! Is this your seat?” and I smiled and said, “Yes, no worries.” She smiled again, turned back to her friend and KEPT TALKING. STAYING IN MY SEAT. Argh. She got up 5 minutes later and said, “Here you go!” with a smile.

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