Viewing Black Men as Preditors

The Trayvon Martian tragedy has forced me to think about black men. Or more to the point, how I act and think around younger African American men.

Of course I like to think I’m not at all prejudice, but that’s a lie, every one is. But not everyone admits it or is honest with themselves.

I’m naturally a pretty friendly person. I talk to strangers all the time, I visit with people in the produce isle, I know the bank tellers by name and ask about their kids, hell, I even start conversations at traffic lights.  I visit with just about everybody including  older African Americans just as much as white folks, but I started taking note of my own actions around young black men and those who seem less fortunate.

Guess what? I tensed up around a group of black teens in the mall. At the Dodge Store there were three African American men in their early 20s standing outside the door.  Again, I tensed up. But why?  I’ve never been attacked or assaulted in anyway by a black man. I’ve argued with friends who happened to be black but I’ve never had a confrontational moment with any African American.

So, for the past three days I’ve made a point to be friendly to young black men and those less fortunate.

1. As I walked out of a building three homeless (or so they appeared) black men rode past on old bikes. They looked at me with blank expressions until I smiled and said, “What a great day for a bike ride.” All three men smiled back, one waved and one guy said, ‘Yeah it is!”

I was a friendly lady in a red dress why wouldn’t they smile.

2.In Walmart there was a African American young man, probably 20 in line behind me. He was sagging, had on a white tank top and a lot of hair. I smiled and said, “I like your shoes.”  He was wearing a good looking pair of high top Nikes with orange trim.

He smiled back, nodded and looked at his shoes. Thanks”.

I don’t know what the hell happened in Sanford, Florida and I don’t understand why George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested. But it’s got some of us thinking. Hopefully, that’s a good thing.

**Let me know what you think, comment, e-mail me at hampoland@gmail.comor friend me on facebook.