On Thursday, writing for MSNBC, equity consultant and author Minda Harts, a Black woman, recounted an incident in which a neighbor in her building profiled her as a delivery worker bringing food — and how she stood up for herself.
"One very popular word that has dominated 2022 is trauma. Let’s be honest, many of us have experienced so much trauma over the last couple of years," wrote Harts. "As a Black woman, I have experienced trauma in the workplace and in my personal life. There are experiences that I have tried to normalize or rationalize away, but nothing can ever replace the lack of humanity the one experiences due to their race, gender or identity."
When she moved to Los Angeles, wrote Harts, she deliberately picked a diverse neighborhood — but only after signing her lease did she realize she was in a majority white building. And soon, she encountered an experience all too common to Black people who live in majority white areas: assumptions from neighbors that she didn't belong there.
When one woman profiled her, however — something that frequently leads to embarrassing incidents around the country — she was ready.
"One of my neighbors who had been on the elevator with me multiple times and saw me in the mail room walked over and said, 'Isn’t that cute, you are delivering food with your dog.' I was taken aback. I was shocked. I was flustered. I looked her directly in her eyes and said, 'Girl, I live here!' She immediately backed away, apologized and ran into her apartment," she wrote. "I walked to my door and put my stuff down and thought about my options. I could assign her ignorance to my mental health and try and dissect why she thought I was delivering food, or I could lean into my tools of healing from situations like this because unfortunately it probably won’t be the last time I experience something like this."
"I chose not to sweep this experience under the rug," Harts concluded. "I leaned into how it made me feel and how I didn’t have to use any extra energy to critique how I might have been dressed or what about me made her think I was delivering food in a building that I have lived in for a year.
You can read more here.