NY Times reporter accuses white women of racism on city sidewalks

The New York Times is facing blowback on social media after publishing an essay by an African-American reporter who accused white women of racism for not ceding space on city sidewalks to black men.  

In a Wednesday essay titled "Was That Racist," reporter Greg Howard singled out white women for forcing him "off the sidewalk completely" when walking toward him, not allowing a straight path. 

"In seven years of living and walking here, I’ve found that most people walk courteously — but that white women, at least when I’m in their path, do not," Howard writes. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Sometimes they’re buried in their phones. Other times, they’re in pairs and groups, and in conversation. But often, they’re looking ahead, through me, if not quite at me," he continues. 

"When white women are in my path, they almost always continue straight, forcing me to one side without changing their course. This happens several times a day; and a couple of times a week, white women force me off the sidewalk completely. In these instances, when I’m standing in the street or in the dirt as a white woman strides past, broad-shouldered and blissful, I turn furious," Howard said. 

"After these encounters, I’m always left with questions. Why only and specifically white women? Do they refuse to acknowledge me because they’ve been taught that they should fear black men, and that any acknowledgment of black men can invite danger? Do they refuse to acknowledge me because to alter their route would be to show their fear? Do they not see me? Can they not see me?" he asks later in the essay. 

The criticism on social media for the piece, primarily from conservatives, was swift.

Howard is a reporter for the Sunday New York Times Metropolitan section and a former writer for Deadspin.