Funny, That White Woman in the Mayfair Mall Food Court Who Loves the Environment …

by waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy

and Hates Indigenous Woman and Black Girl

It’s fitting that this experience happened by the garbage can, the trash, la poubelle, ziigwebinigan

Because that’s the white woman in a mall food court who loves the environment and who came up to ziigwebinigan to discard their trash.

And who,

Standing beside my girl

Standing beside me

As I discarded my trash,

Reached across her

To get to my garbage;

Tried to take it out of my hand

Because apparently,

I was putting it in the wrong trash bin;

Who failed to grab that garbage

BUT

Successfully grabbed the food tray I was holding

–grabbed it right out of my hand

So she could put the onion and paper that was on it

Into the “correct” bin

Shaking her head, grumbling all the while

Reaching across my girl

To me

Back across my girl

So she

Could love the environment

There

In the Mayfield Mall Food Court,

Mumbling and grumbling and shaking her head

As my girl and I stood there

Registering

What was happening,

Looking at her

At each other

At her

At each other

At her whisking off–

 Job done!

Environment saved!

White-woman-(maternal)-authority-over-Black girl-and-Indigenous-woman-established!

Self-righteousness rejuvenated!

We stood there momentarily, still registering, watching her walk away, beyond the food court border

And we moved too, still within the food court, in a slightly different direction, and as her walking trajectory veered gently back to the border, I called out to her, over the people in the food court:

“What you need to be worried about is the fact that you are living on stolen land.”

To which she responded with a look, a shrug, a buoyant gait–her back and long salt & pepper hair setting off in the distance

My girl and I keep walking, Anishinaabe formation; she participates in this resistance, too, says:

“VEGAN.”

I affirm her resistance, chuckle, and yell out a few decibels higher (but not so high as to draw attention: “Yea. VEGAN.”

We laugh.

We looked at each other walking beside each other:

“That just happened!”

Shook our heads.

That just happened!