Black women are fascinating. Regardless of the numerous derogatory comments we hear and receive, “the proof is in the pudding.” Women (and men) spend money and voluntarily endure pain to grasp a couple more straws in their efforts to resemble us. This fascination can significantly increase when Black women rock their natural curls…and sometimes it results in an invasion of personal space. During these moments I have to ask myself the following question, “Do I want to make a personal investment into creating an educational moment for someone else?”
The concept of this question provides me with the opportunity to gain something from the encounter. Besides a temporary regain of control, I can force the aggressor to become aware of his actions. Like flipping a house, I can flip the moment from someone treating me like a living exhibit to a one-on-one round table discussion. Without it, the uncomfortable and rude moment will come and go with the assailant fulfilling the goal of copping a feel, while I am left with the feeling of being violated. By answering “Yes” to this question, I can quickly create a platform where correcting the person can lead to the prevention of future attacks on the next Black woman the assailant meets. After all, the number one (defensive) response when confronted is, “I didn’t know it was a big deal” or “No one ever told me that.” Theoretically, it sounds like the correct thing to do. However, let’s break down what that actually entails:
1. MY patience
2. MY time
3. MY energy
4. MY intellect
5. A receptive mind from the person I am addressing
As you can see from the list, it’s a big effort on MY part. Now imagine that I am having to make a big effort on my part…every day. It gets exhausting. I am all for talking out problems, because that’s the number one way of ending ignorance. But when it is constantly on my shoulders to do the educating, it gets old. Additionally, with all the investment on MY part, there is no way of tracking if the return on my investment (ROI) is satisfactory. Unlike the daily data that one can track when investing in stocks, I can’t determine if my personal investment has any value. Ideally, my ROI would be satisfactory if I have changed the thinking of an individual in a positive way. Since I don’t have a way of determining the long term effects of my investment, I have to rely on faith.
So the next question becomes, “Where do I draw the line?” Meaning, do I create a quota for myself? Do I pick an arbitrary number so that when I get annoyed with someone making a stupid comment or invading my personal space I don’t have to feel guilty about being angry and annoyed in that moment because I “helped out” ten lost souls for the month? Or do I continue until I get burned out? It’s a balancing act and one that is dynamic and fluid. So far, I haven’t found a golden formula for this algorithm of life, but it is one that needs solving.