Please Excuse My Skin’s Unfortunate Color

Most of my acquaintance with urban living comes through having lived in New Orleans for the last five years. Living in the city has it’s advantages but, more and more, I could move out because, the more experience I have, the less safe I feel as being of minority race.

Earlier tonight, I was on my way to a nearby store to buy a few things I’d run out of; I was minding my own business, walking down the sidewalk, when suddenly a passenger in a car crossing at the intersection some yards ahead pushed his head and shoulders out of his passenger-side window and yelled, as loudly as he could, in tones of intense anger, “Fuck you, bitch!”. It was completely apropos nothing; our only “contact” to that point was through his having caught sight of me as his car was crossing the intersection. It’s the fourth case of majority-on-minority verbal abuse I can recall since October. The women seem just fine; the worst I can say is that a few of the clerks here and there seem to resent my coming into their store. Most of the men are okay, too, but at least a small fraction of them seem to wish they could waste me on the spot even though we’ve never before laid eyes on each other. More and more it just seems reckless to live in the city; God knows if I had children there’d be no question of my having them around those angry freaks.

5 Comments so far

  1. Ryan (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2005 @ 4:26 am

    Do you mean minority race as in a minority of the American population, or as a minority of the population of the City of New Orleans? It makes a subtle but definite difference in understanding your story… although it’s absolutely ridiculous, no matter what color your skin is.


  2. Lance (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2005 @ 10:02 am

    Doug, I wonder how you can be so sure that these crude acts are racially based and not a byproduct of a growing general incivility. I don’t mean to say that you can’t be correct, just I am wondering based on your example of how you can tell the difference.


  3. Nathalie (unregistered) on January 7th, 2005 @ 12:12 pm

    I’m just a little curious as to what area of town you live in. Or is this something you have experienced all over the city?


  4. Mike Hoffman (unregistered) on January 7th, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

    I’m white. I’ve seen acts of racism pointed in every direction in this city. Things are very segregated and along the same overlapping lines, the class disparity is huge. It all makes so much sense.


  5. Mike Hoffman (unregistered) on January 7th, 2005 @ 2:34 pm

    …I forgot to add a reference to my December 15th 2004 posting…adding flame to the fire.



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