Monday, July 11, 2011

A Story and A Question

Here's a story. First, I am going to tell the story. As I am "live blogging," if I like it, we'll proceed. If not, it will pass on into cyber history. A story then:

I am driving down a residential street, a street in the development in which I live. It is night, and funny, it is dark. People like to walk in our neighborhood--it's been pretty safe. Some people do not walk with proper walking safety however--walk on the wrong side (always walk facing traffic if there is no sidewalk), walk in dark clothing without reflective gear or lights at night, walk in the middle of the street, walk with earphone music blaring, etc. As a driver you get used to this idiocy--speed limit's 25 here any way--and you can generally avoid hitting the dumb, ignorant and inconsiderate.

This time there are four people. They are somewhere between 16 and 24--male, and Black. Shirtless and wearing baggy shorts, they are hard to see in the dark. They are wandering around the middle of the street, walking backwards and talking to each other. There is three lanes of wide in this street, with a parked car here or there. In addition, there is a side walk in good condition. I used to drive in the inner city, and I learned that you didn't slow down for this behavior. I stated my philosophy out loud as I drove by: "Boys, I get some space too, and if you don't give it to me, I am gonna take it."

After I passed them by, I could hear them yell something at me as I passed by. I don't know if they just felt like harassing me or they didn't like how I drove around them. I feel no shame in how I drove. Legally, I have no obligation to stop for pedestrians who are NOT in a marked cross walk. I can, if I like, yield to a pedestrian at any time, but I choose not to yield to those who are just wandering around in the street. Of course, I am not going to deliberately hit anyone and I will drive defensively and carefully around all pedestrians--the goal is to get home with everyone and everything in one piece--including stupid dipwads in the streets.

As I continued my drive, I thought about how much I disliked their rude and inconsiderate behavior, and how much that kind of behavior seems to have taken over the world. I thought about how much I would like to rid my neighborhood of that behavior and keep it out, before it took over and became the rule rather than the exception--degrading everyone's quality of life. I thought how important it was for us to stand up for the quality of life in our neighborhood--to keep it a good safe place to live.

Here's the question: Am I racist?

(Publish and perish? Let the flame wars begin. Warning: I will moderate after the fact for comments that go beyond.)


Hyperblogal said...

You're complaining about the behavior not the race.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Hyperblogal. You're irritated with the behavior. It wouldn't matter the race, sex, or creed of a person, you'd still be annoyed if they were blocking you from driving.
The thing that gets me, we have the SAME behavior in my area. Sidewalks which are completely clear and there to use, but they choose to take up the street. But, some of these same people are the ones complaining at the PIAC meetings that they need walkways/sidewalks in their neighborhood. If they aren't going to use them, why do you spend money for them?

lesa said...

I did not get racism out of this post at all.

Bob G. said...

I have the same probelms in Ft. Wayne...and the neighborhood changed around US.

I look at it (racism) THIS way:
If you dare to ask yourself the QUESTION in the first place, you are definitely NOT a racist.

And would that people not be constantly ALLOWED to act in an uncivil manner, practice self-restraint and know their boundaires regarding others, as well as not get a free pass from any and every law on the book, you'd have a lot more PLEASANT drives about town.

I alluded to what makes a good neighborhood today on my post.
Real simple answer, too.

Great post you have here...and some sterling comments by others.

You all "get it".
(thank God for that)

Stay safe out there.

The Observer said...

To All:
I reviewed my post again and I do think I left out one element: Fear. That I was mildly afraid, both when I drove by the group, and once I arrived home (but didn't take the most direct route there...and blacked out once on my street...) that they might follow, or look for my vehicle.

Thanks for the imput. I try to be very conscious of this unconscious prejudice that can be something we all take part in.

@Lesa--When you drove the big white truck, did you find that in certain areas of the city, that pedestrians liked to wander in front of you as you drove? Thought so. ;)

The Observer

Mo Rage said...

Unfortunately, I had to move to the real "suburbs". Smithville. Yeah, really "out there". At least it's saving me money.

That said, I know I dislike it greatly--greatly--when people are, as you describe here--walking in the street when they could and should be walking on the sidewalk. Hey, for that matter, I had that happen when I drove through honky Westwood a few years ago.

My reaction in both cases was and is that I don't appreciate it when people walk in the street, period. I don't care what part of town I'm in or the color of their skin. It makes no difference.

What does make a difference, unfortunately, is that some people have both a bad attitude and horrible manners and so, yell at you as you drive on.

That's just the facts.