Does this crap go on in your community? This isn’t my neighborhood, exactly, because I live in a modest log cabin in the woods, not a million dollar home next to the County Club. But it’s basically my hood because it’s close enough that I pass through the township almost daily and my son interacts with these parents’ kids everywhere from school to summer camp to in his sports leagues.
We don’t really have the option of freaking out whenever a black kid rides a bike on our street because the family across the street is black and they ride their bikes all the time. But, then, we’re not looking to live in a whites only community. And we’re not racists.
But I’ll tell you something. The way the police are acting lately, I would be hesitant to call them even if I did suspect some black kids in my neighborhood were up to no good. The last thing I want to do is get someone killed just because I had a suspicion.
I’ll tell you another thing, too. When I first moved out of the city to the suburbs, I was very self-conscious and uncomfortable in all-white settings, whether it was a restaurant bar or a trip to the book store. I don’t even notice it anymore, and now I feel more nervous in the city among more diverse communities because I no longer know the neighborhoods or which blocks are sketchy.
It’s really subtle how this works on your brain. It’s gradual and subconscious, but fear is definitely the main driver. When you live in a bustling diverse city with high crime rates, you develop a high tolerance for low levels of danger. When you live in Berwyn next to the Country Club, you have no tolerance whatsoever for even the most minimal theoretical danger. Even with all my life experiences and personal beliefs, I’ve been in suburbs long enough that I can now kind of understand why a woman would follow kids around with a video camera and call the cops because they’re black and black people are not normally riding bikes on the streets of her community.
It’s still completely fucked up, but segregation and (even passive) racist assumptions will do this kind of thing to a person’s brain.
I’m glad the kids’ mother took the opportunity to try to educate the public about why doing crap like that to her kids not only robs them of their right to be equal and free, but also puts their lives needlessly at risk.