My demeanor is often compared to that of Jane Goodall, an anthropologist who famously studied the communicative habits of chimpanzees with such an unceasing focus that she found herself, however minutely, imitating her subjects.
But those comparisons would be wrong.
I would say that my curiosity, the overbearing impetus behind me positioning myself within white people's personal space as they learn of another truly batshit happening in this apocalypse casserole we call the United States is simply that, as a person of color in this society, I am dead inside.
Or rather, I no longer have the capacity to be surprised by predictable acts of whiteness and the ' ain't shit'-ness inherent within.
So, with every gasp Chadley (that's a name. I'm sure of it.) makes as he reads that Melania showed up to a child holding shelter (aka Kiddie Koncentration Kamp) wearing a coat that basically has "Bitch U Mad?" splayed across the back, I record it with my phone. I do that because, deep down, I envy his ability show genuine amazement at the fact that white women can be the Al Cowlings to White Supremacy's OJ Simpson.
I often sit alone at my neighborhood organic juicery Kale Me Crazy (note: reading that pun is like seppuku but for your eyes). Occasionally I move, but that's only to lean towards Tabitha and her friend at the next table whenever she mutters an indignant "How dare he!?!" after hearing how Corey Lewandowski characterized a disabled child ripped from her parents with sounds you'd expect to hear in a basement shot, low-budget porno in rural Alabama. I studiously write down snippets of their conversation in a notebook titled 'Golly: And Other White Sayings.' I do that because there's an empty Burger King wrapper where my range of emotions in response to racism should be and I worry I'm worse for it.
The fact is that America has not afforded most black and brown people the luxury of being naive about which way the wind will blow. We are well familiar with the soft rhetoric and savior-adjacent attitudes of 'nice whites' ripping apart our communities. Even before this recent era of dictator-lite, there existed a sense of what to expect when certain conversations arose. So when Trump came down that escalator like Cocaine Jesus and proclaimed all Mexicans were rapists and thugs, we didn't need an Infinity Stone to know what our reality was going to be in the coming years.
In fact, I distinctly recall us fucking warning you only to be met with liberal cries of 'but Hilary is a corporate stooge'. Real talk, I'd rather Goldman Sachs rent advertising space on the least hairy section of my ass than see a concentration camp live on the news in my lifetime.
But, you know, continue to be surprised at what's unfolding. Sometimes I swear I forget what it looks like.