Thursday, July 30, 2020

Racism, America, and A Black Woman Traveling Alone

Williamsburgh, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia

On one of my FB post, a white friend stated that she is “afraid” of Black men whom she do not know, and I’ve thought about that comment a lot. I kinda understand her fear, but I think it is unfounded. Most Black men know what will happen if they are even accused of doing anything to a white lady, and therefore, I think that most white women have nothing to worry about. We all saw what happened to the Black birdwatcher in Central Park, and we all know how wrong that whole scenario could have gone. Thankfully, there are phones that record. And, I have not researched it or anything, but I have not heard of a case where a Black man has done anything harmful to a white woman. I think that would probably be breaking news. So, white ladies, I think y'all can relax some.

However, let me tell you about My fear that is not unfounded based on the history of this country. Historically, white folks have been able to do some awful things to Black folks and walk away. And, when I travel alone to places where there may not be other Black people or just a few other Black people, I am always mindful that I could possibly be entering into an environment that is unsafe.

Recently, I went on a small getaway about two hours away from my home to historical Williamsburg, Virginia. I needed to getaway, and I wanted to do it alone.

Let’s talk about alone. I absolutely love being around people, but I recharge by being alone. And, based on me needing to be alone to recharge, that would mean that I am an introvert. But, because I do not do labels and all that comes with them, I generally ignore them. I am who I am, PERIOD, and I NEED time alone!

I have been to Williamsburg before, and I do not remember seeing many Black people there. So, I went to Williamsburg happily but reluctantly. Williamsburg and the surrounding areas are so beautiful, but I was thinking about racism, and I did not want to end up dead or missing. It is hard to determine by looking at white folks if they are blatantly racist or not, so I have to go by how they treat me and my keen racism radar.

When I arrived at the hotel, the manager who checked me in was Black, and I breathed a sigh of relief; I thought that I may be more safe with a Black person working the front desk. I told him of my concerns of being a Black woman traveling alone, and he assured me that I would be safe. 

I also asked the manager about cycling in Williamsburg, and he assured me that I had nothing to worry about. I had never cycled in Williamsburg before and definitely never alone. Throughout breakfast I was thinking about cycling while Black, alone, in the backwoods of Virginia. I thought about what my sister, Tracy, states often: "Brave women do it afraid.” So, I got on my bike and headed towards Jamestown. I was literally by myself on those roads, and when a car would pass, my heart would flutter, and I would think “I hope that the folks in the car are not racist whites who will run me over, call me names, or do something else dreadful to me.” I even passed a few cyclist who were all white, and they all gave me friendly waves and that helped to ease my anxiety as well. My puffy hair was sticking out from my helmet, and my skin is definitely dark enough where folks can tell I am Black, Sooooooo.... Lucky for me, I didn't get those racist vibes that I sometimes get, and I was able to relax some. 

Eventually, I ended up at Jamestown Island and decided to ride it. However, some parts of the island are secluded, but I thought “Brave women do it afraid.” I saw a few other cyclists, walkers, and folks in cars, and they all gave me friendly looks and waves, and that helped to ease my anxiety. 

Near the end of my ride, I saw a sign for a sunset cruise. I desired to take the cruise, but I am a Black woman traveling alone around mostly white people. I cycled by the port, and lo and behold, there was a Black man on the boat. I told him about my reluctancy to take the boat ride being that I might be the only Black person on the boat, and I did not want to end up at the bottom of the James River. He assured me that he would be the captain and that I would be alright. I bought the ticket and took the sunset boat ride. The Black captain was on the boat as well as the Black man who provided the entertainment, and I was able to relax and enjoy the ride. 

So, I had a good first day and was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the trip.

Is this how I feel often? YES......

When driving at night, I think, "If a cop stops me, am I going to pull over, or drive to the closest store then stop, or put on my hazards and drive to the closest store and then stop, or.... just not drive at night?

Fight or Flight... is pretty much where I dwell until I determine, through observations, conversations, and my racism radar if I can relax. 

So, when I hear a white woman state that she is afraid of Black men whom she do not know.... I always think if only she could be a Black woman trying to thrive in America constantly worrying about "Karen" calling the police on me for looking suspicious, with white folks looking at me like "why are you here?" and with white men in pickup trucks causing me much concern etc. 

Are my fears unfounded? 


Sandra Bland
George Floyd
Trayvon Martin
Ahmaud Arbery
Breonna Taylor
Michael Brown.......

Just to name a few! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...