“I am from Jersey, been away to a North Carolina school for a while, but I came back recently and am reconnecting with my family, with my roots. Things are definitely different in the south, that’s for sure. I was driving on a North Carolina highway, and I had my New Jersey plates still on, and a guy in a pickup truck comes up next to me, and he has his son in the front seat, and he gave me the finger, and screamed, ‘Go home you effing Yankee!’ I couldn’t believe it. So there are a different type of people down there, and it is hard to adjust.
“I don’t think race relations have improved in the south – or for the rest of this country for that matter – I just think it has been masked better. Now that things are unmasking globally, people are becoming bolder in the hate they show to people. I worry about our future in this country. Racism is something I think about every day, unfortunately. I think it’s always been there, but they didn’t have a platform for it, but now with the leadership we have in this country, people are more bold to show their ugly side to people they hate.
“People judge me all the time because of the type of cars that I drive, or because I have a do-rag on my head and they think I am a thug and I get pulled over for no reason. I get followed in stores, I have people pull up beside me and flip me off and cut me off on the road, and just things like that, just because I am black.
“I know that I belong because I was born here, but it is sad to feel as though I am not really accepted as belonging in a white culture. It is disheartening to see what is happening in this country right now, and it is so prevalent across the country, like ’Wow, where did all of this hate come from? Was it always here?’ I want Caucasians to understand, you can’t really relate, until you walk in our shoes. White folks can go out and get an apartment without great credit, they can go in a store or drive a certain car and not be stereotyped. Even if we fit every criteria, the feeling of not being good enough is still there. As soon as you walk out the door, you’re thinking, ‘Am I going to get pulled over today?’ You try to be on your best behavior, because everything you do will be used against you. Frankly, white folks don’t have to worry about that. I have seen videos where a white person gets pulled over, and they curse out the cop, resist arrest and they are fine. If a black person does that, it is a death sentence.
“If I was president I would start with just telling people, ‘We are all human. We are all children of God, and we are all created in His image, and what does it matter if my skin is darker than yours, or that yours is lighter than mine? We all have a heart, we all bleed red, so why does skin color matter? I would ask people to simply start talking to each other, get past the stereotypes, because 9 times out of 10 you are completely wrong.”
~ Seaside Heights