Fear and Kindness
Beyond the Book: chance encounters
I’m out of state preparing to speak at a university tonight. I’ve been nervous about this event all week.
If you’re Black and you grew up in the Seattle area - especially in the 80’s and 90’s, Idaho can make you nervous. I grew up with stories of the skinheads and klan members in Idaho’s more rural areas. I still try not to stop anywhere but more major cities when I’m passing through Idaho for work or on road trips.
Recent years haven’t dulled these fears. Researching heavily armed white nationalist groups in eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Utah basically has me wary anytime I travel outside of the Seattle area round here.
It doesn’t mean I haven’t been all up around these parts. I have. And honestly, I’ve often encountered very pleasant people. But when you’re Black in America, it just takes that one person who hates you to change everything. So, when I’m in a place where that one person may feel a little more free to act on their hate, I keep my guard (and heart rate) up.
About a week ago a local conservative news page started running stories on my visit here. A reader sent me the link. Hundreds of outraged comments later I was feeling well….nervous is saying it lightly.