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The 'Antiracist' Doctor Was Right About Microaggressions. I’ve Experienced Them

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Many on the right mock the idea of microaggressions, assuming they are just another absurd idea bandied about by so-called progressives. But too many on the right fail to realize how prevalent this issue is in American society.

RedState’s Sister Toldjah reported on a black female doctor named Brittani James who took to Twitter to complain about racist white people approaching her while shopping to ask if she was an employee of the store.

“Minding my own business shopping and a middle-aged white woman asked me if I work there,” she tweeted. In subsequent tweets, she complained about not being able to “shop in peace” and that “the worst part about the everyday racism of white folks is that we aren’t even allowed to be angry about it.”

I haven’t talked about this publicly, but I can relate to Dr. James’ ordeal. I, too, have been accosted by white bigots, particularly in grocery stores. However, my experience with these folks had nothing to do with my being a black man – it was about my height. At 6’3, I have constantly been approached by sweet old white women in Walmart and Target who ask me to grab items from the top shelf that they cannot reach.

All throughout my life, old ladies have approached me in grocery stores, asking, “young man, can you please grab that box of cookies from the top shelf for me?” Some would even dare to make a joke about being too short to reach the object of their desires.

I politely laugh along with them, but on the inside, I’m screaming: “Why can’t people see me as more than just a tall guy with arms long enough to get them what they want?”

Too many on both sides of the political divide neglect the hardships that tall people experience in America. It’s already bad enough that trying to fit into seats on airplanes is a total drag. We also have to deal with sweet old ladies who need a helping hand.

Sometimes I just want to say: “Leave me alone! My higher vertical length does NOT give you the right to make these demands of me!”

In a world where people like myself have been repeatedly asked “how the weather is up there,” it is no fun being waylaid by people in grocery stores who see me as nothing more than a human crane.

But to make matters worse, even black women have engaged in the same behavior. In fact, I’ve been called upon to use my considerable reach to get everything from oatmeal, to raisins, and even cereal for people of all races and creeds.

This has been happening to me ever since I experienced my first growth spurt, and I’m fed up.

We are at a time in the United States of America when conversations on race and racism are at the forefront. But it is nothing less than a tragedy that our nation’s tall people are treated in such a demeaning fashion while being ignored. If companies can fight for people of color, they should also put the same energy into protecting people of height.

I am calling on all grocery stores to make ladders available to their shorter customers and expressly forbid them to harass their taller customers. This would be a productive step in the right direction and another necessary stride in making American society better for all people, regardless of height.

(Editor’s Note: Clearly, this piece was penned using the sarcasm font. Just pointing that out for those who don’t regularly partake in satire.)