There really is no place “safe,” is there?

The other day, I touched on the fact that I’ve faced some stark realizations over the past few years, even though I previously thought I was pretty “enlightened.” The realization I came to after this particular event hit me really deep (and still does)…

I belong to a forum for old Dodge trucks and there’s a young African American kid on there that is just a riot. I think he’s 19 or 20. This kid is smart, funny, and his enthusiasm is just infectious. I’ve really enjoyed following his adventures (and sometimes misadventures) as he works his way through saving a 30+ year old truck that was an electrical nightmare even when it was new. 

One day, another guy on the forum posted about his girlfriend having been in a hit and run accident and (in his words) “if they catch the little gold-toothed, brillo-haired, SOB I’m sure he won’t have insurance and the car was probably stolen.” At first, it made me angry. I called the guy on it and reported the post to the site’s admins. The offending post was removed right away but the damage had surely already been done. When I realized my young friend had to have seen it I became not only angry, but sad as well; and I became completely horrified when it hit me…

There really is no place “safe,” is there? Ever. It’s always there, just waiting to rear its ugly head for no apparent reason, at any given time or place; even in something as seemingly innocent as an automotive hobby. I mean it’s not like racism itself is new to me, I’ve seen it my whole life and if we’re being completely honest, I’m sure I practiced it at times as a younger man or at least stood by and said nothing when I saw it. Now that I’m older, and hopefully wiser, the realization that it is literally EVERYWHERE and at ALL times, hit me like a brick to the head. Me, the guy that thought I knew something.

It has bothered me at times that many people of color seem to distrust white people automatically and as a whole. Many of those times, I’ve wanted to say “hey, we’re not all like that, why must you distrust all of us?” Well, now I know why; and it’s a terrible thing to know. I’m pretty sure if I was unaware how it exists always and everywhere most, if not all, other white people are also unaware of its true extent.

All I can say is, some of us really are trying and want things to be better… but we clearly have a long, long way to go. I hope that makes some kind of sense.

There really is no place “safe,” is there? Ever. It’s always there, just waiting to rear its ugly head for no apparent reason, at any given time or place; even in something as seemingly innocent as an automotive hobby. I mean it’s not like racism itself is new to me, I’ve seen it my whole life and if we’re being completely honest, I’m sure I practiced it at times as a younger man or at least stood by and said nothing when I saw it. Now that I’m older, and hopefully wiser, the realization that it is literally EVERYWHERE and at ALL times, hit me like a brick to the head. Me, the guy that

Dan Moore

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2 Comments on “There really is no place “safe,” is there?

  1. Thank you for caring Dan…and for speaking out.
    With respect,
    Roberto

  2. Thank you for sharing this experience. It really is an excellent example of how racism permeates our society. As Black woman, I get exhausted being on guard, having to wonder if I can trust this white person, expecting racism, even if unawarely, to show itself, having to think about how I might handle it when it does, having to point it out, educating white people in those situations. When do we just get to be? The answer all to often is, unfortunately, when there are no white people around. And that is not the kind of world we want to live in.
    Do, thanks again for sharing this story. It really tells it like it is for black people.

    Sharon Campbell, Princeton

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