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The visibility spectrum

(09/23/19 4:00am)

Traveling as a black woman is a unique experience. I recently visited a country that was a lot whiter than the United States and whose black population was less than one percent. I was surrounded almost exclusively by white people. I noticed them and they noticed me. They really noticed me. Everywhere I went I was being looked at, stared at. People were x-raying me with their eyes on the subway, on the street, on the bus, in restaurants, in stores. Everywhere I went I was followed by an unfamiliar gaze. I stood out. I was hypervisible. And it didn’t feel good. I felt like a test subject in a lab. Like a show being watched. Like I was a new species that they were discovering.