NY Times Reporter: White Women Force Me Off Sidewalk

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An African-American reporter for The New York Times stirred controversy with an article on July 19 about white women forcing him off the sidewalk.

Greg Howard's first-hand account is one of several published in an article entitled "Was That Racist?":

In seven years of living and walking here, I’ve found that most people walk courteously -- but that white women, at least when I’m in their path, do not. ...When white women are in my path, they almost always continue straight, forcing me to one side without changing their course.

This happens several times a day; and a couple of times a week, white women force me off the sidewalk completely. In these instances, when I’m standing in the street or in the dirt as a white woman strides past, broad-shouldered and blissful, I turn furious.

I turn furious because in these instances I feel small. I always get out of the way, because I was taught at a young age not to bodycheck random people. 

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Howard went on to say that white men do not give him the same problem:

But I also get out of the way because, as a black man, I’ve learned that bodychecking, bumping or even rubbing against a random white woman can be personally hazardous. So I acknowledge other pedestrians, and reroute. White men and all people of color do the same to me. They offer some form of acknowledgment that we are in each other’s path, that I am there at all.

After these encounters, I’m always left with questions. Why only and specifically white women? Do they refuse to acknowledge me because they’ve been taught that they should fear black men, and that any acknowledgment of black men can invite danger? Do they refuse to acknowledge me because to alter their route would be to show their fear? Do they not see me? Can they not see me?

According to Howard, he has asked white women whom he has known about this sidewalk phenomena, but they are not aware of what he is talking about:

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I wonder, too, why I always get out of the way. Why haven’t I ever just walked headlong into a rude white woman? What lessons tug at me, force me off the sidewalk, tell me that my personal space is not necessarily mine? Because explicit in every white woman’s decision not to get out of my way is the expectation that I’ll get out of theirs.

There have always been white women in my life, and I’ve counted them as friends and sisters, mothers and lovers. Whenever I ask white women I know why they don’t reroute for black men, they invariably express ignorance. Whenever that happens, another question always arises: Wait, am I crazy? But then I ask black men. Invariably, they know what I’m talking about.

Howard recalled that an Asian friend told him he never had the same experience with white women on sidewalks.

Fox Sports 1 host Jason Whitlock told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on July 21 that Howard "has an obsession with white women."

Whitlock added: "Black men, who have an obsession with white women, and sometimes who date outside their race, they find as a defense mechanism, for the criticism they take in the black community, is to try to be publicly anti-white."

Howard said in his article that he does not have the same sidewalk problem with white men.

Whitlock called Howard's article "insincere" and "infantile," and questioned his sanity.

Carlson said he would have censored Howard's piece, and told him to go "talk to somebody."

Whitlock accused The New York Times of "race baiting," and said of Howard: "He loves the fruit of white America, the white woman, but he wants to hate the tree that produced them, and it's embarrassing."

"Fox & Friends" took a jab at Howard on July 21 on Twitter: "BIAS ALERT: 'Furious' NYT writer pens attack on white women."

Sources: The New York Times, Fox News, Fox & Friends/Twitter / Photo Credit: FaceMePLS/Flickr, Alex Proimos/Flickr, Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons

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