A Target, Trading Places and Black Friday
“Those shootings had nothing to do with racial profiling me were justified .”
“Yes, but you know how they always get upset. “
“There is no more racism, Black Lives Matter is bull.
That was part of a conversation I heard in Starbucks early Friday morning spoken so loudly, I could not help but think, are they taunting me? I typically sit and start my day writing before going to work, On Friday, I quickly grabbed my coffee and retreated to my car. At lunch time, I was blocked from leaving a car emissions testing station. I sat calmly in my car, fearful to approach the driver, because, it was apparent he’d boxed me in on purpose. I sat there, trying to stay calm and I flashed back to a few years back when the local police stopped me as I was getting my mail out of the box. I had to show ID. I remained calm and respectful and narrated my actions as I was taught to do when interacting with the police. And here I was again, trying to remain calm and respectful, so thankful when an employee intervened and spoke to the driver.
I grew up where the schools were segregated until I got to the 7th grade. There was a white pool and a black pool. The white response to my Virginia life has been, oh, well that didn’t happen here in California. A comment that leaves me perplexed. It offers me no solace and it negates how I felt. But then, if you haven’t experienced it, how would you even know there is anything to ask? At the end of the work day, a white colleague expressed concern for his daughter living in an “urban” area with the wake of violence this week and wanted to know from an African American perspective would his child be safe. I was calm and offered some assurance. But, I was then deeply saddened. There was no, how are you doing? Two young black males were shot and killed by police within a day of each other and then there was Dallas. Was there even a passing curiosity about how I felt? But again, if you haven’t experience it, would you know there is anything to ask? I could have said something, but, I did not have the energy to engage in a “teachable moment.”
By Friday night, I wanted solace; someone to ask how I was doing. It’s draining when you’re judged by the actions of others and you have to keep calm with dignity and grace around taunts and slurs. I am tired. I’ve been viewed with suspicion, had my bags searched after I left a store and been called names. Would a white person honestly want to trade places and be treated the way black people are? How does law enforcement feel? Would you want to be judged and treated the way the police are? Would you want to be targeted because of the actions of some law enforcement. Would you want people to forget all the good you do? This is a complex situation. It is not easy to be black or law enforcement. May we not get so caught up in rhetoric about the problems that we lose sight of a goal of peace and understanding.
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”