Power Walking

“I am 20. I am walking along the King’s Road in Chelsea in London. It is the 1980s. Three men are coming towards me; they are clearly together, though the foot traffic on the pavement requires each to walk a half pace behind the other. They are white, dressed in tight jeans and cap-sleeve T-shirts. The first man, as he passes, looks me in the eye and says: “You’re a pretty girl.” The second one smirks, but says nothing. The third one leans into my face and breathes: “Nigger!”

My final year at university and I had a part-time job working for an American foreign correspondent. One of my tasks was to pick up the broadsheets each morning, and in those pre-Internet days I would leaf through them and clip and file any articles on the stories he was covering. That day was a Saturday in summer. I generally came in later on the weekend and the street was already busy with people. I was on my way to his house with my haul of newspapers when I passed the three men.

You’re a pretty girl. Nigger.” Go to the source for the rest of this essay: Power Walking

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