A Second Opinion: Black Man Walking

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By Mary Foran

In a theme that should have been addressed during Black History Month in February (can you believe it is May already?), there came to mind, as American Meghan Markle has just given British Royal Birth, that prejudice and bigotry have not been conquered yet.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

This is not just an American problem, but it is rampant in America and shows itself in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways. To be black is to be set apart and often looked upon with suspicion, whether there is justification for that suspicion or not.
It’s usually the South that is blamed for treating “Negroes” and “Coloreds” differently and badly, but in the Northern Communities, Blacks have been segregated too and neighborhoods have grown up that are black-oriented and have had their share of gang activity.
As one black friend of mine put it, he would rather know that he was disliked for the color of his skin, than have to put up with phony liberals who are prejudiced but don’t show it to his face. Then at least he can eliminate them from his life and go on without letting it affect him personally.
Since I was cursed with “cheap English skin” which suffers from moles and spots and sunshine, I can’t get into the skin color problem other people in my environment seem to have with immigrants and dark-skinned peoples. It seems to me to be such a silly issue to worry about shades of skin. Cover-Girl Make-Up has made a fortune finding just the right shades for the women of the world, and I applaud them! “Black is Beautiful” was not just an advertising gimmick, it was absolutely true!
What came to mind was seeing a black man just minding his own business with earbuds and tennis shoes walking along a busy street past the cars whizzing by in the opposite direction. Of course, he stood out, BECAUSE HE WAS WALKING, and people take their lives in their hands walking along some streets in this city. But he also stood out because he was black and in a relatively whitish neighborhood. Go figure! He wasn’t doing anything wrong, he was just Different!
Living in a relatively whitish neighborhood myself, I really took notice when a black man became our postman and walked up and down our hills with long strides. I asked him how he liked his job and he said he loved the walking part of it because it kept him healthy and fit. But I suspect prejudice from the neighbors made them change him from his route, and he was replaced by a blonde female! (Who knows, maybe he just got tired of the hills!)
As a white person, it is hard to write about being black without sounding either racist or silly. But with the hatreds that are being fomented in the world, I felt that I had to take a stab at it and let it be known that not all of us “whities” worry about skin color, but rather, as Martin Luther King said, “the content of your character.”
Americans have a special indebtedness to history with regard to the legacy of black people that other countries may not quite understand, including Spain.