They all asked, “Was he black?”

Amy D.,
Royal Oaks, CA.

One night in San Francisco, when walking home from my car after a late work night, a man came toward me and tried to steal my purse. My immediate instinct was to resist and call out, hoping for some intervention from those living in the houses nearby. Ultimately he took off without my purse but he punched my face in the process, leaving me with a cut that required stitches and a big shiner. As I shared my story with friends and co-workers, I did not expect to hear the question that came up over and over from them – was he black? Honestly, it surprised me when it first happened but then really shocked me when it happened again and again. Although I felt I had an understanding of the pervasive endemic racism in our society, I really didn’t expect this reaction from so many. It was a real eye opener for me.


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