I very rarely wade into politcal talk online. Let's be real – our country is pretty evenly divided on every important issue. That means that half of those of you who read my blog are more conservative than I am and half of you are more liberal. I myself am very much a moderate on almost every issue that seems to divide our nation.
What moves me to write now is the shooting of Treyvon Martin, and more specifically, my recent stay in LA. If you read my blog, you know that Steve and I and Elanor and Lola spent 24 hours in LA between flights. We stayed at a hotel near LAX which was in walking distance to a Ralph's grocery store.
On Sunday morning I needed fresh air and wanted to walk to the store to get food for lunch. I was assured that it was safe so I walked the two blocks to Ralph's. Let me tell you that it was cold and windy! Not LA-like at all.
It was early-ish on Sunday but there were still some folks on foot. The neighborhood seemed to have a mix of races and everyone was pretty focused on getting where they were going. Ralph's was nice and I enjoyed hearing the snippets of conversation as I was hunting gluten-free food for me and Elanor.
On the way back to the hotel, I was on the sidewalk walking well behind a black man. I'm 56 — he looked younger than me, but not by a lot. He was bigger than me and dressed informally, as was I. My hands were full. At this point I must add that I walk fast. I knew that I would overtake him before I got to the hotel.
I had time to think about what his reaction might be as he realized that I was coming up on him. I had time to realize that many white women in my position might have thought twice and slowed down. But I was not afraid because I honestly do not view males in general and black males in particular as a threat to me. We are all just people and most of us are nice and normal.
I did notice that he became more vigilant as I got closer. When we were even I said "hi", he said "how ya doing?" and I said I was cold! We lauged and both moved on. And ever since I've thought how sad it is that black men in particular have to be ever vigilant in ways that I as a white woman don't have to be.
If I was the parent of a black teenaged son I don't know how I would be, but I think I'd be more nervous than I was when my boys were younger. Our country should not be this way.