…but I’m not afraid of Drew.
My life has been littered with angry white men who stood in my way. I was too brown, too Muslim, too female. Whatever their reasons, they stood in my way and they were ugly about it. These men were school administrators, police officers, teachers, neighbors and peers.
White men still get in my way. I expect them to. And I expect it to hurt. I shrink in their shadows. I cautiously play stupid even with men who clearly have nowhere near my education or natural capacity for critical thinking. I pretend I know nothing about what they mansplain to me when I often know as much or more, even when the topic at hand is their profession. Because I do my research.
I do my research because sometimes I will have to drop the charade, but before I do I check my clothes, apply my makeup and cast my eyes down to stay safe. Men are more likely to give me what I need–whether it’s a correctly repaired vehicle or passage on the sidewalk–if they find me pretty and unintelligent. Men are less likely to verbally degrade me if they don’t know my cultural or religious upbringing. So I play quiet and I play white. Unless they have an Arab woman fetish, and they often do. Then I play simple and repeatedly decline their advances as politely as possible. Continue reading