Friday, February 11, 2005

I am not dangerous

Ok been consciously avoiding the serious issues for a few but its black history month and I just watched the slavery special plus my mom gave me some not so subtle advice the other day on some ish so I'm saying got to do what I got to do. Anyway I got a few topics (not necessarily fully blown thoughts yet) related to black folk so let me freestyle this one here.

Its about the fear of a black man as predator.

Now I've experienced this phenomena every since I reached North America and found it annoys me and also affects me in ways which I cant describe. Let me give you an example. I think it was my first or second year of university. It's nighttime around 9 o'clock, I'm walking back to residence from the supermarket with two bags of groceries in hand, trudging over pavements covered in dirty snow, wrapped up in as much clothing as I can find when I walk past this off-campus apartment building. This young lady strolls casually out of the building but as she reaches the sidewalk she looks in my direction, her eyes suddenly widen and she takes off like Flo Jo or Marion Jones. What the? I look back because I'm thinking Ted Bundy, Paul Bernardo and a bunch of ninja assassins must be behind me and I'm ready to drop my bags and go special ed on fools:'Flip back got into a fighting position'.

Oh wait a minute! What gives? No one is on the street behind me. Could it be she's running from me. Naa! Couldn't be right? Naaa. She ran off like Kunte Kinte running from a name change. I'm not that scary am I?

Then it dawned on me wait a minute she was actually running from me. Me? Why? I mean what logic dictates that you run away from a dude with two bags of groceries in his hand. Was she fearful I'd run up on her and force feed her a sandwich with too much hot sauce. Was there a fear that I would put the bags in her hand and force her to cook for me?

No she was just frightened because here she saw a black man on a semi deserted street at night. DAMN!

Alrighty then!sigh!

Had a couple more instances like that happen to me on campus at nights on my way from the library too. Yes there was always this fear of the brother with a big book bag on his back. Whoa he's dangerous a dangerous negro. He's packing some of that crazy algebra and calculus ish, ya naa want test him.

I also remember walking with one of my boys and our girlfriends at the time and passing some white girls who instinctively clutched their purses tighter as they passed us. Hmmm interesting. Yes that's what we black folk do on dates. I could take you to dinner for valentines girl but I got a better idea lets just go out and jack some white folk for their cheddar, ya feel me?

Oh and don't get me started on the elevator scene. I'm just going to avoid mentioning that all together. Forget I said anything.

Seriously though its a bit disturbing and I know I'm conscious of it and it has affected my behavior. I mean everyone knows I'm messed up already I really don't need other issues to deal with.

Anyway I cope. I tend to make sure at night when walking close to other (read non-black) folk I make as much noise as possible so that they are aware of my presence, not trying to sneak up on anyone. Or I slow down or speed up to pass them so that they don't think I'm following them. Why's it got to be this way.

Ok, this annoys me but I've grown accustomed to it. The only reason I'm probably blogging about it now is that I was talking about it with my wife a few days ago since it tends to happen to me alot lately because I don't get home till after 6 and its usually dark here by then.

So everytime I get off the bus and some person in my general neighborhood gets off ahead of me I always see the furtive glances in my direction and sense there is this fear. I sometimes feel like screaming out "ya blasted jackass why you gotta be worried when you see me. ya think I gine rob ya? ya doan think I cud live roun here too? chupse". Mind you I'm usually carrying my work bag so I guess they are worried I'm going to memo them to death or something.

It reminds me of this t shirt that there was an ad for in the Source magazine way back in the day. It said 'NO white lady I don't want your purse.' Think it was Bonz Malone modeling it. LOL, I wonder if they make them anymore cause I may need one.

Anyway I usually just slow down or speed up to pass them. Yea I could stalk them and make them more fearful but that would just be stupid and dangerous on my part plus it would actual cater to their ignorant beliefs. Oh well such is life in North America.


cackmandu said...

I feel for you man!! I am a white guy in southern Maryland. As much as I would like to say people aren't afraid of a black man by apprearance only is wishful thinking. It is an unfortunate thing. People's racism is hideen and tucked away because of the PC of it all. I think I would respect someone more if they said they just didn't like me because I was white. You know where that person stands and all will be good. Now you walk around and people pretend to be nice and cordial with you but really they may be wondering if your going to rob them. Pure ignorance! Now it's not just us white people that feel this way either. I know a few black people that have nothing to do with me for the simple fact that I am white. What gives with that? They could be missing out on a great friendship or professional opportunity. I'm sure I will have more to say as I have time to let this set in.

Melody said...

Jdid, that's why so many ov us ethnic immigrants long to go home, even when we know it's feasible to work in N. Amer where economies are stable. Mr. Pig's coworker's son was once pulled over by de police for a "routine check" that involved only him an' NO other motorist. He told them that he was on his way to final exams, an' his girlfriend wif whom he was drivin' had a job interview to go to. No matter. De police kept them on de soft shoulder, holdin' on to their licences an' checkin' an' re-checkin' everyfing for almost an hour, then towed their car 'cause GEICO hadn't sent them their insurance card yet an' they couldn't prove that they'd just insured de car on de Net. The couple internalized de incident, an' de kid started developin' a FU attitude an' didn't even tell his dad why 'til months later. His dad, Mr. Pig's coworker was very upset but nothing came ov it. Livin' here, it's hard to accept that no matter where you go an' what you do, chances are you'll be treated like a colour first an' then a person after. It SUX!!

Anonymous said...

I give a big middle finger to racism!

JDid, I would say that you shouldn't 'make your presence' known' only helps to make racist whites more weary of you IMHO. Just be yourself would be my advice.

Though I'm Jamaican, I am very light skinned. I can tell you, I am scared shyteless of skinheads, rednecks or deviant looking caucasians.

The way I see it, racial discrimination is here to stay, but I think humanity has made some positive strides in this area. Peace out my yute! Dr. D.

obifromsouthlondon said...

hmmm so we aint alone huh?

obi on crowded train all suited and booted going to work. reading his Vibe magazine. pretty white female sitting adjacent. he sees she's wearing a big ass blinging ring. he looks at her, smiles. She stares blankly at him. He shrugs.


continues reading mag. 5 mins later he looks up and catches her eyes. she looks away quickly. He looks at her finger. big ass blinging ring not on finger anymore.

"what? she scared of me? on crowded ass train? interesting"

o said...

You can find Black tshirts there, not sure if they have the one you want but they are pretty provocative.

Anyhoo, read Ellis Cose's "The Envy of the World". What's it saying? Black men are feared. They are emulated (all these nonsense rappers).

But they are not loved.

I need to pick up the book m'self, so if you get it before me, let a sista know what's gwannins.


Abeni said...

The danger of stereotypes.I had my share of subtle racism in NJ too.It didn't really bother me that much(too many other issues).People look at you and form some opinion because of how you look,race or whatever.On another note,nothing annoys me more than when Cbean people look down on one another because they from a bigger island or some stupidness so.

Campfyah said...

Jdid, man we all in this together. As long as we are migrants from the Caribbean or other thrid-world countries we gonna expericence some form of racism. We just gotta ignore de ignorance.

Just de other day as i was walking from the gym, I passed an old man who had his cane clutched so hard that I had tuh hurry up and pass he so that he doan tek me out, and I walked passed a group of men. the thought that went through my head was. Why is it that a white woman would be afraid to walk through a crowd of young black men, but a black woman usually isn't affraid to walk through a crowd of young white men?

Angry Dog said...

Jdid, I feel you too my brotha. I come across that same shit here as well, especially since I teach in a rural area and lots of people here don't know how to be PC in their discrimination. I even know that no matter how well-educated I am, or how my experience and qualifications speak for themselves, I'm working at this place because I fulfill the status quo...i.e. I'm a two-for one, minority, international--would've been great if I was a female, then I'd be even more in demand. I miss the Caribbean.

Scratchie said...

It happens. I, like Doc, happen to be light skinned by Caribbean standards. Have had to deal with racism in NJ a while back.
It goes both ways I suppose cuz I've seen white people discriminated on by blacks. If it's not for race then status or money. We always seem to find something to differentiate us. Another life mystery I guess. I just chalk it up to personal ignorance and move on.

Sunshine said...

Hi Jdid-Sorry to hear of your experiences. It's a sad, sad situation still. Stereotyping and racism is still alive and well in this 21st century. I 've had my little share of racism right here in these United States when I was nine, but not like what you're experiencing. Stay strong and realize it's total assinine ignorance.

Mo said...

Beautiful colors scare the's annoying that we live under these circumstances and i'm sorry this is part of your life experience.
I'm also gulity for clutching my bags tighter and trying to escape, but not from a black man rather from any man. It's the world we live in thanks to the channel 5 news...we're all paranoid!

Anonymous said...

obi, maybe some white yute stole her ring in the five minutes and you never see him! ;-) Dr. D.

Mad Bull said...

Bwoy, I tell you, I am wary of anybody walking on the street at night, black OR white! I guess that wariness is ingrained from living back a Yard though...

Jdid said...

cackamdu welcome. I agree with your take. Being PC is a bunch of crock. IF you dont like me let me know to my face.

Melody it duz suck, I fear for my kids dealing with those sorts of issues

Dr D. true we've made strides but still a wasy to go

Obi lol, the train is another story. I love to see how folk act towards black men on the train, its hilarious.

Soli thanks for the links. Will also check for the book

Abeni, it actually doesnt bother me much, I dont lose any sleep over it. I actually think its funny from a certain perspective

camp, yep ya juss gotta ignore um

angry dog i feel ya bro. i get fok coming into my office looking for me and being in shock when they see a black man and its not only other folks i get that from its black folk as well. I laugh

True thing Scratchie

Sunshine, thanks. I'm cool with it though, I just felt the need to mention it in a blog cause its interesting

mo, welcome its a shame our world is so full of fear aint it

mad bull i dont blame ya

el canaillou said...

well, I 'm a white guy from france... I think it is important you tell about that you know.. don't know well how to remedy.. here it is the case with arabic people.. lot of bad racism.. to certain people it seems normal to tell stupid joke etc etc.
I went in Ivory Coast some years ago.. it made me the contrary.. quite funny. I stayed there with people from the country during one month and then to see white men among black men in the crowd made me a chock.. i was telling they had a lack of color... the brain do average calculus..
Well as Aimé Cesaire told.. the future is mixity.. here I'm always chocked to see communinitarism.. very very.. bad.. arabic with arabic.. black with black.. it is that that must be eliminated first.. wish in france it won't evolve in the bad direction.. religions are very bad in that point of view.. they enhanced narrow minded behaviours.. but .. with the web yet communication possibilities should resolve certain stpuid thinkings..

ThandieLand said...

Hey Jdid,

I did not know you were here man but here goes...

Americans on a whole live in a fear filled society. (I remember a writer in Essence Magazine writing about going to Bim and seeing a situation where she thought a man was about to attack a woman one evening; when it was only the man coming to wait for his woman at the bus-stop!)

But they have singled out the black man the member of their society that they must fear most. In all the news about black men doing all those criminal things they never say that in most crimes by black men, other blacks are 90% times the victims. They need a monster and they have a convinient one in the black male.

So as somebody else says don't let them trouble you. The white women who are so scared of you have more to fear in their own homes and them white girls on campus biggest enemy is a white boy at the drunken frat party.

Keep your head up.. try not to make this change who you are too much; either that or get a car buddy ;)

Yamfoot said...

I didn't know what racism was before I went to England. Seriously, in Jamaica you have all races and colours, but generally I think that people mix well here.

It was certainly an eye opener. I must remember to blog about my experiences with some caucasion youths on a street corner in Kent in 1999. Have to go dig up the journal thta I wrote about it in.