This summer has taught me many lessons, many of which have allowed me to grow as a person, from forming stronger bonds with friends to getting closer with distant family to meeting new people.
But I learned a valuable lesson this summer, something I felt the need to share with all of the Denison student body.
This summer, my friend and I, after working out at our local community gym, decided to go out for a bite. We were walking the street late at night in her neighborhood, Dorchester which is a neighborhood in Boston.
As we walked back to her house after eating ourselves into a food coma, we see her dad struggle to find a parking spot on her street. If you are from a Boston hood, you know how extremely hard it can be to find a parking spot directly in front of your house.
Luckily her father found one across the street, and as he slowly started to reverse, a man came out and started yelling at him. The man claimed that someone like him doesn’t belong here, and he needed to move his car. Mind you there are no assigned parking spots, all are up for grabs. My friend and I are both Black and the man yelling is white.
My friend boiled with anger and started to yell at the man, “This is my neighborhood that I grew up in, and who are you to tell me any different?” She then went on to call him racist for saying her father didn’t belong there, and to our surprise he smirked, “Yeah I just may be.”
After that night, my friend and I sat down and we talked about how Dorchester, a community that use to be predominantly Black is slowly being gentrified and Black families are being pushed out.
Now, you may ask yourself what is the problem with white families moving in? There is no problem with this, but when the original inhabitants of the community are being pushed away then it becomes a problem.
That night, I learned America will never be post-racial. If we continue to be “colorblind” to the struggles people of color face, we will only create a bigger divide.
Shortly after this incident, the events in Charlottesville happened and this overt racism that was supposedly gone became a reality again.
Protests formed by neo-nazis were on their way, and one was happening right in downtown Boston.
People in my community, which is home to mostly African Americans, felt unsafe. We felt unsafe in our own neighborhoods. Now if that’s not problematic, I don’t know what is.
We need to remember the Civils Rights Movement was only 60 years ago. Police brutality is still present, housing segregation is still present, job discrimination is still present and the oppression of Black women in just about everything in life… still present!
We are not so far removed from The Era of Jim Crow.
We are not so far removed from the harsh realities of what defines race in America today.
It’s time to resist hate. It’s time to do better, America.