So you’re out perusing the aisles at the local bookstore. You’re taking the day for what it is, easy going. You’re alone, but you’re at peace. You’re just exercising your right to have a little “me time” this lovely afternoon. It’s early, but you’re already feeling good about this liberating day. You glance around the room and notice quickly that you’re the only woman of color making her way through the stacks to nab a seat in the café with your handful of hopeful reads. That’s okay, you’re thinking. It’d be nice to see a “familiar” face, but you’re content riding it out alone.
Then all the sudden you spot her… Another brown skin sister like yourself, who’s seemingly enjoying the same day of freedom. At first glance it appears as if she’s talking to herself, but you break back to 2009 when your gaze notices her blue tooth occupied ear. She must be engaging in a conversation with someone on the other end. Then you begin to wish you also had someone to talk to at that very moment.
She makes her way to your quiet corner in the café. You notice she’s weighed down with her own faithful stack of magazines to flip through. You’re already anticipating striking up a convo-comparison over your stack of “must reads” versus her selections.
You generate a smile, but she pauses on that sincere gesture as if to read you your Miranda Rights and then dismiss you from the premises. And then she hits you with it. A glare and a stare that points her head compass due south and then takes a quick cut back to the center again. Up and Down in slow motion and equipped with a little “eye roll” action for special effects. A look that clearly reads, “don’t bother, you’ve been dismissed.”
They call it, “The Up and Down Stare,” but the question is why do we perform this discourteous act on one another? With us being the mass minority you’d think we’d always opt to embrace the sisterhood. Unfortunately, more and more sisters are unleashing this off brand action that I like to refer to as administering the Rob’N Hood Effect (RHE), on our unsuspecting girlfriends. The RHE meaning, we’re robbing or being robbed of the richness in engaging politely with our fellow sisters, and claiming that cheap victory of their dismissal for ourselves.
Either you’ve done it from time to time, or you’ve been the unlucky victim swinging from the pendulum of an RHE aftermath. Anyway you look at, the situation isn’t cool and one that I had to examine further. I got together with a couple friends who dance on both sides of the fence when it comes to being the victim or the victimizer. Here’s a couple reasons I gathered from that lengthy discussion that identify why people give the infamous, “Up and Down Stare.”
1) To size you up. Sometimes people think they have to do a quick comparison on you before they pause to offer a smile. It’s a way to check to make sure you’re not outshining them on their lovely day, or trying to threaten the comfortable perch they have above the rest of the world. In their mind. In reality, it’s the precursor to forming an opinion about you. Sizing you up, before their mind offers you a category of significance to be aptly placed in, before even considering extending courtesy.
2) Power trips. There are some people in the world that get their kicks out of making other people feel insignificant. Even when it’s your first instinct to generate a warm smile to a passing neighbor, people living on a “power high,” are sometimes there to extinguish your kindness. There are so many explanations I could state that would give merit to several reasons why people feel like they’re “better than,” the next person. Unfortunately, that could lead to a whole other article and it could easily grow to be quite a lengthy list. So, here’s are a few to gage your interest that rest entirely on the surface of the issue.
Status: You’re not on their level financially and don’t come from the “neighborhood” they frequent. This minor difference automatically makes you the weaker person in their mind. It leaves you standing in line waiting to become their victim.
The after affects of Willie Lynch: We still live in a world where some black people take issue with the many variations of our amazing color complexions. Some fair skinned sisters may choose to dislike their darker skinned counterparts and vice versa. It’s a learned prejudice but one that still exists and may be the reason why some feel the need to exert power over one another and stare ’em down with a little hate.
Skinny Women Are Evil: Monique said it best, didn’t she? It’s no secret that our BBW’s are sometimes the victims of the skinny women’s snarls and stares when being judged in public. It’s also no secret that some of our BBW’s have been known a time or two to be the ones who dish the hate first when they encounter skinny sisters. Everyone’s different, that’s a fact, but a lot of people are threatened by differences, which brings about an end result of negative behavior.
3) Insecure: The good ole “Transference of Energy” trick we learned from Two Can Play That Game. If you’re not feeling good about yourself, it’s only natural for you to want the rest of the world to wallow in the same insecurity and sorrow. The shoddy look you sent out to your neighbor is merely a reflection of the troubling things within. When you’re not feeling good about yourself inside, it’s easy to have a nasty attitude towards anyone you feel threatened by, that are outside your comfort zone. You’re hoping that when you’re done showing them how bad you feel, that they’ll walk away feeling the same negative way. It’s a way to make your issue someone else’s.
4) Jealousy: If you don’t really know the person you shouldn’t have a reason to be so nasty on a first encounter, so all the issues that you have likely exist on the surface. Maybe she’s wearing that outfit you wish you could pull off, or possibly driving that dream car that your credit wouldn’t approve you for. Maybe she’s a little further ahead in her New Years resolution to get in shape, than you are. Maybe she’s on the arm of someone you used to date, and you’re still not quite over him. Anyway you look at it, envy is playing a major part in your boorish behavior.
5) Unconscious Hater-ation: Some people, all around, are just mean and nasty individuals. It’s not the idea that they make rudeness a sport it’s the reality that they wear it as a badge of honor. When you’re littered in your indiscretions, your interactions with the rest of the world will be affected by the rude components of your personality. Stares, curt gestures, or arrogant behavior are probably just mild doses of the real venom that could be administered on your prey. If it comes too easy, it’s second nature. When it’s gotten that far, maybe it’s hard to realize how your actions may be affecting the next sister. Maybe.
Feel free to add on to the list Clutchettes, I’m sure there are many more reasons.