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Beware the Black Woman and Her Suitcase

by Cassendre Xavier


Dear Wisdom readers,

Usually I write a column for Wisdom that has to do with the matters of the spirit.

I believe that one of the most spiritually enriching and sometimes lifesaving things to do is laugh. Humor is indeed one of life’s best medicines, and I’ve been enjoying and benefiting from humor a lot these days.

I hope this article will help you laugh, relax, and get more deeply into matters of spiritual well-being!

Beware the Black Woman and Her Suitcase


Because I’m a struggling artist, doing many office-y things, and because I don’t have my own office (yet), I almost always have with me what I like to call my “office on wheels”. This is the standard, government issue suitcase contrapment consisting of some type of tough, nylon material atop a set of four very strong and sturdy **wheelery-type objects.

I’ve noticed lately that some people kind of bump into the suitcase as it rolls behind me, or almost trip on it.
I was walking around center city a couple of weeks ago, when a guy behind me tripped on my suitcase, fell to his non-death, actually making palm-to-concrete contact with the sidewalk. I was most affected by hearing and seeing his mobile phone hit the ground. I felt horrible. I tried to help him up but he must’ve been hitting the gym because he sprang up faster than you could say “Tae-Bo”. Or “Pilates”, or something (I don’t know what you crazy kids are doing these days).

Anyway, he seemed fine, and I left wondering, “How come that guy didn’t see a big ol’ suitcase less than a foot in front of him? Could it be, oh, I dunno, because I’m black and he’s white?” I noticed that when I walked through a crowd of black people, none ever bump into my suitcase. We see each other, because we’re alike. That’s something I’ve fabulously re-coined the “Birds of a Feather” theory. I believe we all recognize, make space for, and usually respect the space of folks who look like, or have something in common with us. Others would say that black people seem to be well aware of, and make space for white people, but I’m trying to write a little humor column here, so let’s get back on track, shall we?

So, I thought back to my days working at a chain bookstore. There was an information center on the first floor which consisted of a series of counters which appeared to have access on the other side only if you felt entitled to use it. I marveled at the demographics of people (women, older folks, people of color), who chose to stay in front of the counter and those (men, business people, dominatrices) who went behind and typed away on the computers as if they owned the joint.

I realized, I could use this to my advantage. I could create a little game out of it. Something I could do whenever something bad happened to Moi at the hands of one of their brethren: I would go, during lunch hour, to a highly congested area and just walk around, rolling my suitcase in a nice, friendly, and figureskatingly attractive weaving pattern, trust my powers of invisibility as a black woman, and just watch them fall like the adorable over privileged dominoes that they are. Wouldst that make Moi a bad person?

*Yes, I know that’s not really word. I like to make words up, okay? Give a gal a little freedom, will ya? Isn’t it enough that I’m black and you don’t see my suitcase already? Sheesh!

**That’s not a word, either, I know. Wow, you never let up, do you?!

Cassendre Xavier will be speaking about raw foods on Saturday Mornings with Joy Keys on the Blog Talk Radio podcast on 10/24/09, reading and signing copies of her new book The Opposite of Fear: A Food, Mood & Progress Journal at Arnold’s Way in Lansdale, PA on 10/28/09, and reading & singing her original erotica at the Erotic Literary Salon in Philadelphia on 1/20/10. Coining the phrase “renaissance negresse” in 2002, she founded Philadelphia’s annual Black Women’s Arts Festival in 2003, which is now a nonprofit organization. Visit www.cassEndrExavier.com.


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