This is one of the reasons I’m glad I left Chicago, one of the most segregated big cities in America. The tension just seems to overwhelm intentions. I live near the resort city of Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, and while I’m sure there’s plenty of racism here, there’s less tension. I work in retail, and when black people come into the shop, they expect to be treated like everyone else, and they’re relaxed about it. I also see more mixed-race couples. It just feels like less of an issue.
Granted, I haven’t been here long, and I don’t see any businesses owned by black people, nor am I aware of black people belonging to any of the governments of the local villages and townships. Same goes for the local chambers of commerce and business associations.
But just to be able to talk to people without that suspicion and caution as a starting place feels wonderful.