Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are you homeless?

I was reading my incomprehensible text while standing downtown and waiting for bus, knees knocking from the cold.

"Are you homeless?" The question invaded my space.

I looked up. I smiled at the man and shook my head.

"Oh, okay," he said and crossed the street.

I immediately did a body check. What was I wearing? How was I carrying myself?

And then it hit me. He was brilliant. With one question, he completely forced me to challenge my stereotypes and assumptions about homeless people. He interrupted my binary between us and them. I was forced to move beyond.

Now, I am getting up the courage to follow in his footsteps.
Except my question...Are you white?

2 comments:

suzz said...

i love your posts about being flustered by strangers, or really, flustered by how you see yourself through their eyes. i'm reminded of the man on the bus who asked you about your "being white" book. i'm noticing that teaching preschool is softening my baltimore shell, slowly, and reminding me that inspiration is outside one's apartment. i'm weaving my way back to creativity, and deep questions like this are lighting my way. love you.

xoxo,
susanne

Emily said...

great moment...glad you captured it