Rafe Chisolm8 months ago
Thank you for writing this, I've had a lot of similar thoughts/emotions going through my mind. I'm a black guy living in a predominantly black neighborhood in the city in a neighborhood I've known for a while. I remember one night it was 3am and after sleeping on the couch I hear some knocks and mumbling at my front door - not the first time by far. Usually it's guys working odd jobs - or the occasional person asking if someone else still lived there. This time no one ever answered the knocks when I asked who it was. I have a security door so when I looked outside and saw no one, I thought maybe I was dreaming. Then I heard the knocks again, and I asked who it was. I heard some faint mumbling and immediately got my gun, hollered to the person at the door to say who they were and that I was armed. No answer. I called 911 and told the dispatcher I was NOT opening the door or leaving my house with my firearm. This is another reality that as a black person in America even when calling for help, you have to give every indication you yourself are not a threat, otherwise even police might take your life, as in the case of Jonathan Farrell and countless nameless others .
As I waited in my house, I wondered who it was. Where they were. If they looked like me (and honestly I assumed they did) or if I was ready to have to defend myself if they came in before the police could arrive. What if I became the targets of the police? In the end I wished I just didn't have to call anyone at all. Like you said, I wished to have not even asked for help at all...
I saw the police lights flashing outside, I was still on with the dispatcher because I wanted to clearly communicate that when I was opening that door I was not approaching an officer armed. I looked out, opened my security door with my phone in my hand so the officer could see I had nothing else. As he motioned over his should I saw who the person was knocking on my door
An 80-something year old woman with dimentia who was wandering the streets at night out of confusion. A woman who days earlier I assisted her while she was hunched almost entirely over her walker. Maybe she remembered my kindness and actually noticed where I lived? Eitherway, I felt embarassed at the whole spectacle of being afraid of an elderly woman, someone I even sought to help days earlier - but at least everyone was safe. What bothers me more though, are cases like Renisha's, where none of what transpired sounds like someone who acted in fear of their life - but rather in completely conscious disregard for a black person's life. In the end I'm not sure if the conditioned fear of someone black is any better than someone conditioned to hate black people - the end result is the same, and fear and hate are never far apart, our lives are constantly in danger - even when seeking help from danger.