On our way down to see fireworks last night my wife asked me to stop somewhere so she could get a pack of gum. I exited the highway in a marginal area of St. Louis. I saw the Walgreens and decided that was the best place considering the options. I was fortunate enough to find a front row spot so I pulled up and let me wife make the purchase. As I sat there many black(African-American) people entered and exited the store. When she got back into the car we discussed the feelings we had of being in a heavily black area. "Lock the doors," was one of my comments. We also noticed that many of the black men would wear blue jean pants or shorts that wouldn't stay up without an occasional crotch grab. All guys I saw at the Walgreens also wore either a white t-shirt or white tank top. This was reinforced today as we drove near the same area.
It was just a weird unsafe feeling mixed with stereotyping coming true. Along this area that we drove, Broadway Blvd, there were many 2 or 3 story brick buildings, many boarded up and the others dotted with black families sitting on the front porches. There are many beautiful brick buildings, many close to 100 years old with awesome architecture, just waiting to be torn down or renovated.
Today as we scoped out a bed and breakfast in a nice neighborhood that is surrounded by poverty I got to experience purchasing gas at a station where few white people visit. It was the first time that I bought groceries by pointing and guessing from the outside of a bullet proof window. "Uh, how much are those chips........., no those on the next shelf....." I got a little nervous as the line started to back up behind me. This is an area that I often drove thru as a teen and at that time I was either naive, didn't realize the separation between whites and blacks, or the area wasn't this bad.
This said, I do appreciate the few black people that I work with. I am comfortable enough with 2 of the guys to discuss any questions or feelings that I have about black people. They may not appreciate the questions that I ask, but we do seem to enjoy each other's company.