I was randomly attacked by someone. Truly random. Physically attacked me and walked away. A friend asked what ethnicity they were. I said black. I was slightly offended by the question, as I've been raised not to profile anyone. But later I realized that of the random (unprovoked) run-ins I've had with theft and near-assults (half a dozen in 10 years) , they've always been black.
Me: I am white. Most of my friends are not white, a few black, and I have had long-term girlfriends that were black. I'm truly not racist. I get upset with any racist comments/questions.
Setting: I'm in a major U.S. city, in a downtown area, with mixture of many ethnicities. As with many big cities, a mixture of very high-end restaurants/shopping/living and much poorer/homeless surrounding area. I often steer clear of scary looking people of all ethnicities. I wouldn't be wary of a well-dressed, nicely groomed person of any ethnicity. The other run-ins I've had the people looked poorer, some obviously mentally ill, others not, but this person was fairly well dressed (urban wear, but new and a young, clean-cut person).
CMV: I don't want to be prejudice. But I feel with little other common traits, my brain is now searching for a common trait to be wary of. I don't want it to be skin color.
Please change my view. Thank you.
I walked the same streets again today (after taking some days off by driving and going over this situation over and over in my head). I realized:
- There were many black people that walked by me that incited zero fear. This was a relief that my brain hadn't been hardwired in some weird, racist setting.
- I walked past a crowd of black guys screaming at a cop, one shadow boxing in my general direction, then kicking a metal gate as I passed. While unsettling, it would have been equally so if they were white.
- Later, a white guy covered in some crusty substance walking toward me. This was concerning.
- A thuggish white guy was quickly walking toward me. This was concerning.
...welcome to the neighborhood. Gentrification can be a topic for another time.
I find myself settled that it was more the thugish/mental stability of the people that was most concerning. Color wasn't playing as big a role as I feared. I'd like to think I'd read an equally presentable black/white person the same way.
Thank you for the (literally) overwhelming number of comments. Will try to get to as many as possible.