I met a man who grew up outside Philadelphia. When he moved to the Bay Area, his wife wanted to live in Oakland because of its energy and creativity and diversity. He only saw danger and moved the family to Danville.
I met a man who grew up in Oakland. He lived in a neighborhood where people would randomly walk into your yard or your house and mess with you. He grew up with a heightened awareness of danger. As an adult, he moved to Walnut Creek and experienced for the first time a place where “everything worked.” “Everyone was pleasant,” he said. “People smiled at you at the post office. If they saw more than three people waiting in line, they would open another register. Everything was easier.” He was White.
I know a woman who, as a girl, was not safe in her family. She felt much safer out in the world and was prepared to live in less predictable communities in exchange for freedom.
Growing up in the suburbs, I was taught you dressed up to go downtown. Once I grew up and started spending more time in cities, I was taught the fancy people were targets, and one should “dress down.”
I know a woman of color who only feels safe in her neighborhood around other people of color. “You never know what to expect from White people,” she said.
How much of your time do you spend evaluating your safety?
How free do you feel to walk through the world?
What do you do when you feel vulnerable?
Who do you call for help?
Who provides solace?