East Palo Alto, CA.
Soon after moving to an exciting silicon valley in the first years of the internet boom, it felt like anything was possible in this new world. I was invited by a friend to a party given by a start-up founder, held at his home. We arrived separately from my friend and settled in with my 6 month old. After sitting and chatting for a while, I fixed a plate and sat down to eat. It was then that the hostess came to my side and told me, “I don’t feel comfortable with you in my house.” I was the only African American present, other than my infant. I looked around me as everyone else, people I had been chatting with a moment before, averted their gazes. My embarrassment mounted as I gathered my things, my baby, and my husband and left. My friend apologized, but I just couldn’t face her again after this experience, and that was the end of our budding friendship. I didn’t feel the same about the ‘wild, free’ tech industry after that. I wish that even one person had stood up for me.