I believe I’ve previously shared that we are the only black people on our block. Usually. Every once in a while the rental house across the street is occupied by a black family, as is currently the case.
Last night LG and I were returning home from Bible Study and as we turned the corner and pulled into our garage, LG tells me that our neighbor looks suspicious. I ask her who she’s talking about.
LG: The man that’s always standing outside. He hangs out too much.
NG: Well honey, that’s where he lives and if he wants to be outside, he certainly can be. Why do you think he looks suspicious?
LG: Well, he looks like one of the Metro’s Most Wanted.
LG: You know on the news when they show the criminals? He looks like one of them.
NG: Um, how does he look like one of them?
LG: Well, he’s black, he wears a cap, and he’s always outside. He looks like he’d run up to the car, make us get out, hit us on the head and take all our stuff.
NG: So…do you think he’d look suspicious if he was white, wore a cap and was always outside?
LG: No ma’am.
Well damn. What am I supposed to do to counteract that? I told her, of course, that she can’t/shouldn’t think that all black men in hats who hang around outside are criminals. That a number of men she knows and loves are hat wearing, outside going black men – her father, her grandfathers, her uncles, cousins, friends’ fathers, etc., etc. – and they’re not criminals.
So if you were faced with this situation, what would you do? Have you dealt with anything similar? What else do you think I should tell her? I don’t want to beat her over the head with this, but I surely cannot have her walking around with this notion in her head! Sometimes I can’t help but feel that by moving to a county where whites are the overwhelming majority we have done our girl a disservice.