Little Girl Terrified of Me Because of Black Lives Matter
As a department store worker, I see people of all walks of life. I do not greet obvious Christians with “Ave Satanas”, and I am not rude to people who have trouble with English, and I do not shout racial slurs. I wouldn’t do any of that even if I weren’t at work. My belief is that our differences don’t matter when we all have the same goals. We can and should work together.
In this instance, everyone who speaks to me wants to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. And they want to leave with everything they came to get. I work in the clothing department, as well. When you work in clothing, soap, or food, you know that you will get the widest variety of people, because those items are everyday essentials.
I was folding clothing in the little girl’s section of the store, silently cursing at the ridiculous amount of glitter on the clothing, when a black woman in her mid-twenties turned the corner. I smiled at her and continued my folding. We’re taught to ask people if they need assistance, but I only do that if the people look confused. Nobody wants to be bothered. She didn’t smile at me, she barely made eye contact. I then saw her daughter, lagging behind her, and that’s when I realized that they were both wearing black lives matter t-shirts.
I shrugged it off and continued my work. My section had to look immaculate before I left that night and I was only working a four and a half hour shift.They needed a couple of outfits for events soon, and as her mother kept looking around, her daughter kept turning and staring at me. About the fifth time she did it, my eyes met hers, and I smiled. Working in this section, I noticed that young children who are quiet usually shyly smile back and hide. I found this cute, and that’s what I expected from her.
She burst into tears and ran to her mother, screaming and crying about the “scary white lady”. I just stared in shock. The woman didn’t look at me, didn’t apologize, didn’t confront me, didn’t console her crying daughter, nothing. She just picked up her daughter and left. After I recovered from that, I couldn’t get the terrified girl’s voice and face out of my head. Why would anyone want their child to be so afraid, even if anything this child had been told was true? My friend told me once that whenever there was a drive-by shooting in his neighborhood, his mother had his siblings and him play snakes. They had no idea of anything terrible happening and were still safe.
Parents should not have their children so afraid that they can’t trust a friendly white person.