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  • Writer's picturejdc

The Nod

As we make our way through a world in which whiteness has made itself dominant, there is a particular action of acknowledgement that makes itself known: the nod. My experience is that this gesture is typically expressed by men. Rarely does a woman acknowledged me in passing even when I myself offer the nod.

A few things might be at play:

  • Historically, the nod has been a way for Black men to signal either acknowledgment or safety to one another.

  • Women have been taught/trained that we are each other’s competition.

  • Often my head is bowed to prevent unwanted attention and engagement which might be construed otherwise.

Personally, I always express appreciation when I see any woman, particularly Black women, shine and glow as only we can. Likely my all girls’ school experience has something to do with that. It is also something my mother has always done and continues to do so.

The above reflection is from 2015.

Something changed. (It is now late December 2021)

Now, when making my way, Black women (and much less so now, Black men) acknowledge me and often there are verbal compliments. Also my head tends to be a bit more up than in the past.

It might be me and that I am, or at least perceived as more accessible, less threatening and/or inviting when walking. I am definitely older.

But in all honesty, I think it is my hair (for another time).


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