Today, the day after Election Day 2016 (one of the heaviest days of my life, I experienced the most genuine human interaction with strangers since I moved here over a year ago.
As I walked through Bed-Stuy to the subway (and really all day), I noticed that everyone was looking at everyone. When I first moved to the city, I developed a habit of greeting people because acknowledging people is important to fostering community. Unfortunately, gentrification is slowly shifting that culture. After the winter, I grew cold and my willingness to open up and acknowledge people decreased out of fear. Many experiences of cat calling and being followed made me wary of who I talk to. So I grew accustomed to having few daily human interactions despite constantly being surrounded by people.
Today, everyone was glancing at folks around them, as if to determine one’s political leanings from their eye contact. I noticed that most folks of color greeted me with assuring smiles and hellos, while most white folks kept their heads down as they blasted music or kept their nose in a book. Granted, this discrepancy is usually how my encounters are but today, folks seemed to be intentionally making efforts to acknowledge each other. Continue reading