I had a great interaction that made my day. I was coming from a store when I saw an older black man sitting on a bench outside. Our eyes met and then we both did “the nod” to one another. See the nod/the smile is a standard greeting that black people use to acknowledge one another particularly in white spaces. I live in a majority black town so I don’t use the nod as much and when I’m in the City (NYC) I rarely use the nod because we are all so busy trying to get to where we want to go. But when the opportunity presents itself and there are only two black people in an area that is majority white, the nod basically says ” I see you fam.” The solidarity that the nod brings breaks the ice in plenty of situations where black people are thrown into unfamiliar (white) territory. I am sure many black men and women can talk of how their friendship began with a nod/smile. And what does it mean if a fellow black person does not nod back you ask. Well it could mean a) they either didn’t see you, b) got beef with you (not that likely if you don’t already know the person) OR c) the other person is trying to hide and separate themselves from a blackness that you both share in order to make themselves smaller, less radical*, and “safer” for their white peers (trust me I have seen this happen a lot at my alma mater).
*Black people are viewed as “more radical” when seen in groups. Just look at how the slave masters and current police tactics are against crowds of black people assembling. When two black people are in the room filled with white people the level of perceived black radicalism increases 200%. Thus a person trying to deny their blackness will do whatever they can to appear less radical such as distancing themselves from the other black person in the room.
For more information on “The Nod” please watch black-ish Season 1 Episode 3.