A couple of summers ago I was walking through Times Square with a couple of my cousins, we were coming from seeing a play and heading to the car or subway or something. A black guy approached us and handed me one of his CDs. It was free and as so many guys do, he just wanted to get his music out there so he was passing it out.
It sort of looks like this photo only there were hundreds of people around going in all different directions. It was crazy and crowded, like Times Square usually is.
I sort of shrugged it off and said, “No thanks,” and we kept walking. But the guy’s response was quite disturbing. He seemed to think I was some sort of white dude from Iowa or something who never saw a minority before and he said, “It’s ok man. I’m a black dude. This is what we look like, we’re human, we’re harmless. Get to know us!”
I was shocked that he profiled me like that, which is totally the opposite of me, and I’m sure he himself is profiled every day of his life, but I turned him down because of so many reasons – basically I wouldn’t listen to his music. My music tastes are stuck in the ’80s and ’90s, so it wasn’t my thing. I also didn’t want to take the CD and end up throwing it away or throwing it aside in the back seat of the car or something, you know, wasting his money, and also I don’t think I even have a CD player! Also, in Times Square, there are people coming at you from every which way trying to hand you something or talk to you, it’s a crazy place, you sort of duck everyone subconsciously as you walk through. We were only there because we had to cross through to get out from the theater where we saw the play.
But of course disturbing about this is how the guy thought I perceived him, which was 100% wrong, just like his perception of me was totally wrong. It makes me sad whenever I think of it. What do I do in the future, take the CD, thank the guy and be on my way? Maybe.