I believe I have my own white-savior story that might actually be a Magical Negro story at the same damn time.
I think the proper term for this story that I’m about to tell is an allegory. What’s the deeper, potentially political, meaning behind it? I don’t know. It sure as shit means something, though. But more important, it means that as happened to Michael Oher, a white woman came to my rescue, except I was her Bagger Vance as I (possibly) helped her achieve some sort of save-the-black-children bucket list item. I really hope Sandra Bullock (hi, Sandra boo) plays my white savior when a movie is made about the story of my life.
(Sidenote: I never really thought about this, but in The Blind Side, I think Michael Oher actually was a Magical Negro. He never makes the Magical Negro Registry, but he belongs on there for what he did for her life and making her a better human. She got him a bed, he gave her “I did good” tears. That, my friends, is an equal tradeoff.)
As the Blacks say to the Other Blacks when explaining some shit that is either about to go or already did go down: Here’s the situation:
Because my house is pretty full of people on every day ending with y, I use a co-working space to do all of my writing (and it ensures that I get out of the house for more than 30 minutes).
Across from my co-work space is a construction site—one of many in Washington, D.C.—where some new overpriced apartment building is going up. On the same side of the street as this new construction are several eateries. That fact isn’t vital to the story, I just like the word “eateries.” It reminds me of “groceries,” which reminds me of “Post to Be,” Omarion’s hit song where Jhené Aiko managed to weave “eat the booty like groceries” melodically into the eternal fabric of my mind. I’ve lost my way.
Anyway, one sweet day, I decided to venture out to lunch at one of those eateries. It turns out that I lied; all eateries matter. In order to tell this story, I must paint a maplike picture (I also drew one in case my explanation was duck sauce) in order for this to make sense.
My building is on the northwest corner. I crossed the street—heading south—to the southwest corner, which is where the construction is happening. Because of this work, the sidewalk has been rendered unusable, so barriers have been placed in the middle of the street, making one lane a sidewalk, and I promise, this gets entertaining soon. The eateries are south of the intersection.
So, as I made my way to the northeast corner, there were several people on the corner, one of whom was a middle-aged white woman, probably in her mid- to late 50s.
She was waiting at the intersection to cross from the southwest corner to the southeast corner. She was standing on the edge, so I walked in front of her, onto the street that’s been turned into a sidewalk.
The light running “north-south” was green, so cars were heading southbound in the same direction that I was walking. Let me also add here that I was on the phone as I was making my walk toward the eateries. I took ONE step onto the street, and this white woman GRABBED my arm and yelled, “WATCH OUT,” causing me to immediately jump, ALMOST into the very traffic she seemed to be trying to save me from, EVEN THOUGH I was in no harm and wasn’t walking toward OR near the oncoming traffic.
As she pulled me back toward the sidewalk, I jerked my jacket and arm—she actually got a piece of arm—away and said, “I wasn’t crossing the street.” I took back my freedom and kept it moving to the eatery, probably Chopt. I like Chopt.
It was there that it dawned on me—that white woman thinks she saved my life EVEN THOUGH she almost killed me. Not only does she think she saved my life, but she’s probably going to tell others that she kept a young man from walking into traffic because he was on his phone and not paying attention, which is entirely untrue.
And yet, in the story of her life, she did a social good, a just good, and made sure that I’d get the opportunity, at least for those next moments, to be all that I could be in life. She reached deep down into her bag of moral justice and “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere” and made sure that I could become the next Martin Luther King Jr., though, really, she almost turned my life into a scene from Final Destination.
I’m over-emphasizing her race for a reason (for allegorical purposes). I don’t know why she fake-saved my life. Maybe it was her motherly instinct, or maybe she just saw something that looked wrong to her, so she did her best to correct it. But I do know that much like American society, this white woman decided that something was wrong, completely devoid of facts, acted upon that decision and almost created additional calamity in the train wreck she was attempting to avoid.
That white woman was Congress, and I was the people. Or she was white people and I was the people.
I don’t really know. Nothing is a clean parallel. Maybe it’s a reach. What I do know is that there’s a white woman running around Washington, D.C., who believes she saved my life, though what really happened is that she almost killed me.
I don’t know what that means, but by George, it means something. And I reallllly hope Sandra Bullock is available when my agent gets to callin’.