I was raised in a two-parent, middle class home safely nestled in an affluent residential neighborhood. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I began to realize that maybe I was more materially fortunate than others, especially those who looked like me. It also became clear to me that parts of civil society believed that because of the way I looked, I wasn’t necessarily entitled to any of that good fortune.
I can recall being followed by police in the neighborhood I lived in, as if I was lost or intruding. I have been followed in retail stores as if I didn’t come to shop, but to steal. I’ve had women clinch their purses in my passing and others who’ve gone as far to cross to the other side of the street after I approached them to simply ask for directions.