I would like to share thirty minutes of my day with you.
Earlier I went into Gap on King St to escape the 100 degree weather. As it is store protocol, I was greeted by 2 ladies, one African American and the other white. Browsing, I headed to the back of the store with no intentions to buy anything. As I’m heading back to the front of the store, the African American woman approached me and cleverly addresses my bookbag and my purpose in the store. I explained to her that I was a leader of the SPECTRA Program at the College of Charleston and our conversation switched to the typical “what’s your major?” I told her, and as usual, the person asking wants to know what I’m going to do with Physical Education… Ha.
Anyways, our conversation ended with her giving me the contact information of someone who can help bring my afterschool program to life!
(I gave God glory on the way out! Whoop whoop!)
Now, as I’m leaving the store heading to a jewelry shop down the road on King, I begin to think to myself “Did she approach me because I’m black?”, “Does she stop every tourist that comes in with a bookbag?”; similar question came to mind. But, I CHOSE to immediately cast those thoughts down.
A question I had to ask myself, and encourage you to ask yourself if you’re ever in this sort of situation is: Why would I let those thoughts affect me and my day; be it true or not? Then answer in whichever way you deem fitting..
Now, I’m inside the jewelry store and I find myself again CHOOSING to control my thoughts from the situation I previously encountered. And CHOOSING not to look at the fact that I’m “out of place.”
Instead, I picked up my fixed watch (whoop whoop!) and as the salesman and I waited for the checkout process, we made small talk and it ended in getting my watch repaired for free.
Finally, as I leave the store I definitely thanked God for the free repair, but more importantly I started reflecting on how that 30 minutes could have been completely different had I not controlled my thoughts.
Had I not controlled my thoughts from the get go, I would’ve shut down, and I know for certain I would not have made conversation with the salesmen in the jewelry store who were white. I would’ve considered the black saleswoman a “sell out” since she was the one who approached me and not the white one.
I believe that if we continue to magnify race, stereotyping, microaggressions, or whatever else minorities have to face, we will continue to have our destinies written for us.
Control the thoughts of YOUR mind and YOU can control the destiny of your life. If you don’t someone or something else will.