Walking while White

Due to the frequency of Zoom, I’ve been opting for phone calls for one on one conversations.  I often throw on my coat and go for a walk while talking, a nice change from sedentary computer-ing.  We’re fortunate to live by a public walking path in the woods, right behind a police depot which borders our property to  the north.

Last Wednesday afternoon I did just that.  The cool air and brisk walk were refreshing, and it was a good phone conversation.  I got in several laps.  My hands got a bit cold with no gloves, but alternating which hand got frozen while holding the phone helped.

The call ended just as I was completing a lap.  I checked the news and noted that a mob had started to storm the Capitol building in DC.  I looked up and noticed that an unusual number of officers were next to their cruisers.  I wondered if it was just a shift change, or if they were headed downtown to provide security around the Statehouse. 

Then I noticed something else. 

There I was, standing nearby these officers, one hand holding a cell phone, my other hand shoved deep into my coat pocket – the exact same posture for which Andre Hill was shot several weeks ago, a few miles south of where we were. 

Perhaps the officers had bigger things on their mind than to give me a second glance.  Or perhaps I got the benefit of the doubt that I’m just a dude holding a cell phone, trying to stay warm on a winter day. 

I decided to stand there for another few minutes, just to feel what it was like, my body shaking just as much from sorrow as the cold.  Nobody seemed to notice.