Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Long Way To Go...

On Saturday night, the hard drive on our beloved main home computer, well, died. Yesterday was one of my days off, so I thought I'd ride the bus over to the computer store and get a replacement hard drive.

I got to the bus stop at about 9:15am. A few minutes later, a Hispanic young man walked up and sat down at the other bus stop bench about 10 feet away. A few minutes later, a Black woman who I'd seen a couple of days earlier at the same bus stop walked up. Since we'd spoken before, I said "Good morning." She looked at me with an odd glare and walked back in the other direction and waited about 20 feet away from the Hispanic young man. Weird but whatever, right?

Several minutes after that, a young Black woman walked up and stood about 10 feet on the other side of the bus stop. And a couple of minutes after that, a Black man walked up and started a conversation with the young Black woman.

Now, maybe I'm being oversensitive, but seeing a scene of complete volunteer racial social segregation at a bus stop, of all places, was sort of surreal. I did not feel personally discriminated against for my race but it was an odd experience.

Is it possible that those two people already knew each other? Sure, but it didn't look like it. There wasn't a look of familiarity between them, it just looked like they were passing time till the bus came.

I think it is sad that some people feel that they must place that much physical space and social distance between themselves and someone of another race -- or that the only thing necessary for a person to feel comfortable enough to strike up a conversation with another person is the color of their skin.

I've had plenty of days where I wait at the bus stop and people of different races stand next to each other, even if noone talks (although usually at least one person will)...so this wasn't an everyday experience. It's just odd that there are enough people being socially indoctrinated to this kind of behavior that it's possible at all.

Best Wishes,

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