This is a comment by Thaddeus on the post “That Seat Is Not Taken: Why Black Men Love Southwest Airlines“.
Is this really news to anyone? Oh wait, it is if you are not a Black man. I have experienced this phenomenon my entire life. Whenever I ride any form of mass transit, the seat next to me will remain open unless the person is more infirm or potentially more threatening than I appear to be. On airplanes, unless seating is assigned, the seat next to me remains open. I have even tested the idea of walking down the street and not deviating from my flight plan. People walk around me and anyone I am walking with, even if I walk against the flow of traffic. This subtle act of fear, built around racism regarding Black Men, has turn me from being 5 feet 9 inches of a highly educated, well spoken, unassuming, non-threatening, well-dressed Black Man into the Most Dangerous Man Alive. It would amuse me if it wasn’t such a sad statement about our society. This trick works no matter where I lived in the country. This is such an isolating condition. Imagine what the workplace is like when this “untouchable” state is active. Corporate work is hell when you are an “untouchable.” (And before someone rants and tells me about the castes of untouchables in other cultures, I know they exist and that is why I mentioned it.)
Photo credit: Flickr / Robert S. Donovan