I was in a mixed-race neighborhood, in line at a convenience store behind a black man checking out with a white clerk. He asked if there were any larger sizes of the wine he was buying. After the clerk said he wasn’t sure, he went back into the store to look himself.
As he walked away, the clerk pulled a coworker over and told him to “keep an eye on him”.
The overt expression of distrust shook me. Only as I worked through my feelings did I realize how uneasy and on edge I felt in the neighborhood–out of my comfort zone. I think our self-imposed segregation breeds fear and division.
It was the night before Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration.