Pascal’s R*ist: Part II.


It’s late out at night. A white man crosses the street and ends up inadvertently sneaking up on a woman who suddenly notices him and startled – she clutches her purse tighter or she makes sure her keys are held a particular way. Or she takes her headphones off or she does any one of of a hundred little things to look out for her safety – maybe she takes a turn to see if she loses White Guy.

It’s late out at night. A black person crosses the street and a white man suddenly notices him and the white man suddenly needs to know right where his wallet is.

Each of those scenarios are definitely things that happen, motivated (likely) by different things.

But….there’s also this scenario:

It’s late out at night. A white woman is walking and a black man crosses the street – she hadn’t noticed him until now so she startles and does her self-protection drill described above.

From this one encounter, she doesn’t know if he’s an Asshole or not – she’s scared of him because he’s generally bigger. But….Black Dude has no way to tell that that is what is going on from this one encounter either – she could be just racist or she could be scared of the man.

I don’t know what the answer is here in the details (Because well, I’m Not Black.) but I do know that it’s a thing that needs talking about. And I’ve seen that scenario come up in discussions a lot but I have yet to see a satisfactory answer to it.

(This also applies to things like Pascal’s Ableism but with some caveats about whether the disability is visible or not and how that interacts with various things)

Now, yes, Margilanised-on-one-axis men already do alter their behaviour to stop setting off certain flags but we do need to discuss to what extent they need to cater to women’s fears and to what extent they don’t.

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