Black Men & Public Space

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It was around midnight on Friday when I was walking down the street. Tired and concern about the time I was walking fast to the bus stop in one of the most impoverished areas of the town. Just when the darkest street approached I saw a man standing by the side as if he was waiting for me to come. My heart started to beat faster and faster as I was walking towards him and my hands were suddenly sweating, I tried to focus myself on the light at the end of the street and walk by him discreetly but my fear was so obvious that I couldn’t help but run and hold my purse tight to my chest. The words mugging, raped and even death were crossing in my mind as replacing the lack of air in my lungs. While I was running to be “safe”, I decided to make sure that he “the mugger” was not following me but he was! That made the situation even worse. When I finally got to the bus stop I saw him menacingly close, I couldn’t breathe nor take one more step then I thought to myself, this is it! I’m done, he will kill me. But to my surprise he was just running to see if I was fine and asked if someone was following me to hurt me.

When I realized that he was only concerned about me I felt horrible. Even though I don’t consider myself a racist my actions were showing the opposite as I just racially profiled an innocent person. That situation brought me to the realization of something that I, myself probably wouldn't have ever thought of. I never sat down to think how an innocent black man would feel being avoided and even isolated from the crowd just because he is large and black. I imagined and almost felt his pain when I looked into his eyes, his sight was yelling at me as asking me why his physic characteristics would ever cause people such fear.

As much as people may want to avoid passing instant judgments on others, it seems to be a part of human nature to be critical. Stereotyping and making assumptions over a person due to the way they are casually dressed...
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