My most specific encounter with racism | NESHEAHOLIC

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My most specific encounter with racism

I've been fortunate enough to always live in areas where I don't overtly encounter racism. In the wake of all the conversation surrounding the Trayvon Martin tragedy I was reminded of my one specific encounter with a racist individual: 

Written June 14, 2008

Today at 8:09 a.m. Tim and I were waiting in a parking lot on Ellsworth and Federal for our Philly Car Share car. A woman, a white woman, was walking her dog, picking her car up from the parking lot. After staring at us the whole way into the lot she asked “What are you doing here?” The fear and hate in her face, and the tone of her voice was as if she expected the answer to be “stealing a car,” “robbing you,” or “selling drugs.” All we were doing was sitting in the parking lot waiting for our car. What gave her the right, and what prompted her to question our being there, four blocks from our house? I am 99% sure that if we had not been a Black couple she would have proceeded on with her day, with no questions asked. Tim said we did a service to Black people by answering her questions politely and not being rude in a situation where we were obviously being treated unfairly. I hope that that is true, I hope the next time she won’t find a Black couple sitting and talking in a parking lot to be suspicious. 

I have a niece, a beautiful 5 month old baby girl. I love her dearly, but she scares me. I'm scared for her. Scared for her to grow up in a world where sun-kissed individuals like herself are seen as inadequate for no reason other than the ignorance of millions of people. A world were she and her future boyfriend will be questioned as to why they are sitting talking together four blocks from their house. 

It makes me sad, it makes me afraid, and it makes me angry. 

When I re-read this this morning I almost began to cry at my use of the word suspicious. Suspicious was what got Trayvon Martin killed. 


  1. LaNeshe I'm sorry you had to go through that, when I was growing up all the black kids made fun of me because of my skin color! I never had any white,Asian or any other race made fun of me! As I grew up and learn more and more about history and life those kids were not happy with themselves and it took me years to get over my skin color issues and I had to ask God to let me love me for me!

    However when I walk through the park white people do look at me like I'm going to do something but when I say hi(I'm always nice) they say hi back!

    Trayvon Martin is making me really mad and I want some action now!

    1. Yea, across the board darker seems to always be thought of as "less than" in some circles, even to people who are brown themselves.

  2. I am also sorry you had to go through that. I don't understand why people are racist and unaccepting of those different then them.

    1. Yea, you would think by now, at least in places like Philadelphia where I was, people would no longer make those kind of assumptions.

  3. I was going to say what A Buckeye Girl Reads said. I've never understood rascism, or any prejudice that judges on a person's appearance. I think Tim was right, responding politely to the lady's rudeness at the very least good manners. Who knows, maybe your politeness got her thinking that she could be wrong about blacks (we can always hope, yes?).
    I think sometimes I can be quite naive about how prevalent racism is, or can be. Partly because I don't judge people by the colour of their skin. But watching 'What Would You Do' the other week mad me realise that it's still very much alive, and I still don't understand that mentality.

  4. This story - and Travyon's story, & all the stories that run the gamut in between them - break my heart. I try not to let them harden my heart, too, because like Tim said, it's only be being kind, patient, & compassionate & trying to teach others that we can eventually, someday, get beyond all of this. I wish so deeply that I felt that day were coming soon.

  5. I am sorry that happened to you. People assume alot, and think its their right to say something.
    Speaking of assumptions and people speaking up: the other day a random man asked my brother (whom I was having lunch with) If he was going to marry me LOL. Ok I get it, its not racism, but that guy saw a boy and a girl laughing and lunching... must be a happy little couple right!! clearly the farest thing from the truth!
    Same with you, 2 people waiting for a car in the parking lot clearly waiting to steal it when it arrives *rolling eyes*
    From reading your blog I can tell you are a good person, you & Tim don't deserve to be treated as suspicious by passing strangers.

    1. Thank you!... yea, it's strange how people can feel the authority to voice their assumptions like that. Thanks for commenting!


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