I had to drop off a check at the bursar today for tuition and return some books to the library, so I bundled myself up and began the few block hike to campus, when a (Black) man, maybe a few years older than me, stopped me.

He was walking along the sidewalk, away from Livernois (on the portion that was passable -- many urban sidewalks here are not, with the concrete either broken to the point of being deadly or littered with so much [un]identifiable garbage that a person, viscerally, senses that staying away would be best), while I was walking along the side of the street toward Livernois (campus).

"What you doin' here, boy?"

"Excuse me?" [taking my my glove, so I could pull an ear bud out so I could hear him better]

"I said, what you doing here? You White, man. You on the wrong side of Puritan." [glaring, chest pumped out]

"I live here."

"You live here? Where you live?"

"Over there [gesturing toward Santa Rosa Dr]. I study at University of Detroit Mercy. [gesturing toward campus, two blocks away] I'm learning how to be a therapist."

"You at University Detroit? [demeanor changing]"

"Yeah."

"All right, all right [smiling, extending hand] You get an education!" [I take his hand; shake hands]

"OK. ...I will."

And then we each continued on our separate ways.
omnipotent: (Figure it out like Nancy Drew)

From: [personal profile] omnipotent


I am glad he softened up once you explained that you belong there, too. I was fearful this might have had a worse ending than what it did. You seem like a very friendly person, though.
gwendraith: (Default)

From: [personal profile] gwendraith


Yikes, I wondered what was going to happen and feared a confrontation or a lead up to you getting mugged or worse! You handled it perfectly and thank heaven he recognised you were an okay kind of guy not to mention you had every right to be there. I do find it weird that anyone would get challenged about that in the first place. Glad it ended in a friendly way.
guiltyred: (Default)

From: [personal profile] guiltyred


I live in Davison, but work in Flint at a for-profit college. The racial divide in that area permeates everything. As an outward-seeming middle-aged white woman, I've had to come to an understanding with my own privilege, and try to figure out how it all fits together so as to better serve our students, and keep my own mental health in check. Some days, it's hard not to look at someone and think "STEREOTYPE: GANGSTA" before they even say anything; still, no matter how rough or intimidating someone may act or seem, folks do tend to respond well to pleasant talk and general kindness, even if it's just offering them a cup of coffee.

(I have to say, I love that people are discussing privilege, but the whole can of worms that is intersectionality tends to give me a headache for bunches of personal reasons...)
.

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