Struggling to overcome my fear.

Lucy Jones,
Portland, OR.

I am 32 years old and white. I have had social anxiety all of my life. As a child, I was around black people often and I was comfortable, but quiet because of my anxiety disorder. This changed in college.

I grew up in Ohio and went to school in southern California. My neighbors were from Compton. They were loud and expressive black men. I had never met anyone quite like them and I experienced some culture shock, but eventually became friends with them. One night, after a frat party, I smoked pot with them and their friends. I was the only woman and the only white person in the group and I wasn’t a pot smoker, so I started to feel awkward right away. We went to a Ihop. The staff seemed uncomfortable. I got the impression that they didn’t want us there. The guys were teasing me, saying that I was really high, which was true. All of this made me so paranoid and uncomfortable that I left before ordering. I felt bad about leaving, I felt bad about the staff’s behavior, and the behavior of the guys I was with.

Ever since then I have been extremely awkward around black people. I’m not afraid of them hurting me, I’m afraid of them judging me. I’m afraid that my social anxiety will be interpreted as racism. I try to avoid being around black people. That’s what people with anxiety disorders do, they avoid their triggers. I know that the black people that I have spent time around notice my anxiety. I don’t know if it makes them angry or uncomfortable, but I do know that I’m angry, uncomfortable and deeply ashamed. I feel like I am a part of the problem. These thoughts run through my head everyday. If anyone knows of a multiracial support group for people who want to overcome their fears about race, I would like to join.

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3 Responses to "Struggling to overcome my fear."
  1. I think what you really need is a close black friend who understands you. It would really help you to overcome your fear of judgement within a bubble of security.

  2. Racism is Ignorant says:

    Yeah I suffer from anxiety as well. Your story sounds like you might have social anxiety near African American. Trying pot and it was with black people .. WTF Very awkward around “black people.” another WTF WHY DON”T YOU START BY telling yourself social anxiety ISN”T COLOUR THING!

    Well, at least you are tryng but honestly? What’s there to even try?! WE ARE PEOPLE!!!!!

  3. barry irving says:

    …you have personal issues. People who are good socially don’t have as many Racial issues “generally”. This is a perfect example of how Race, Racial Affectation and Racism compounds life in America. As a social construct, it injects these fears, doubts and media driven images into the collective consciousness and unconsciousness. When you have anxieties running through your head, you need counseling or even medication to calm your thoughts…that is one of the most common psychological issues in America…it’s human and happens for a variety of reasons.

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