A year ago, I bought a Black Lives Matter Sweatshirt from my kids’ school during a Black History Month presentation. I did not buy it without tremendous thought. I have wanted one since the movement began. Before I bought it, I finally mustered up the courage to ask a black friend, if it was appropriate. She emphatically approved.
It is always a surreal experience when I wear it. And much of it is in my mind, some of it is not.
I will say, I feel very comfortable wearing it in two places. My school and my kids’ school. At these two locations, I often forget that I am wearing it, until the inevitable, “Like your hoodie” comment comes.
But, if I venture into the big wide world, for some reason, I never forget that I am wearing it. I am very conscious of it when I walk by white folk, and I am equally conscious of it when I walk by black folk. No one says anything…Yet. Is that good? I think I want them to react, right? But do I want to have that conversation in the grocery store? I want to discuss, but I am nervous about the potential conversation. Will my training pay off, or will I be a snarky dick? Will it be positive?
Black folk seldom look directly at it, but I am positive that they see it. What are they thinking? Cool, he supports us. OR, what does he know! White people look directly at the shirt and take it in for a second or two, then walk on. I live in a liberal pocket of the city, so I don’t know what they are thinking as I know many approve, and many do not. But what level of approval or disapproval are they at… Except at the two schools, no one engages me. Yet.
Until the cold breaks, I will continue to don my BLM hoodie every week or so and embrace the mind games that will inevitably occur. I think in my selfish, utopian ideal I want to be engaged and lauded. Black and liberal white people should acknowledge me with a “thanks” and a “good for you.” I realize this is self-serving and a non-rational reason to wear it —- but you try wearing a BLM shirt —- it plays with your mind. I want people who disagree with me to engage me in a rational conversation, and I want my equity training to take over as I skillfully maneuver through a conversation on race, and, of course, CHANGE someone’s mind. Oh yeah, the power of the BLM hoodie is growing.
Try it. I would like to know what goes on in your head.