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My good friend is Mexican-American, I am white— she and I are both avid knitters and we traveled to upstate New York together for the annual yarn festival hosted there last year. We stopped in a small town to browse antique stores along the way and found a shop with an absolute STOCKPILE of gorgeous, unique, vintage buttons. We were the only ones in the shop, and we spent a fair amount of time respectfully, gently sifting through the inventory to buy several projects’ worth of these buttons… however I noticed the older white shopkeeper watched us like a hawk and checked in on us in an unpleasant, cold manner pretty often while we were there. We bought tons of buttons and I bought a silk scarf too, then we left.

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Then my friend told me that this experience was nothing out of the ordinary for her, and it has happened all her life— because she’s brown. She also has to second guess herself every time it happens— is she actually experiencing what she thinks she is, or is she making assumptions? She feels as though she is always self-gaslighting, wondering if her perceptions are valid.