Black In America: Listeners Share Their Experiences
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And finally today, we're going to hear some of your voices as part of NPR's listener-submitted series about being Black in America. In response to the nationwide protests that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody last month, NPR asked listeners to share their stories about being Black in America, and hundreds of you have responded. Thank you. Here are two of the stories you sent us.
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DANIELLE ATCHISON: My name is Danielle Atchison, and I live in South Carolina. I am a Black woman and a millennial, born and raised in Trenton, N.J. I've had to deal with anti-Black racism and sexism all my life. But in the North, it's mostly covert. When I moved to Tennessee for work a few years ago, my mom helped me look for apartments. The ones closest to my manufacturing job were inexpensive but off country roads where white people literally sold Confederate flags and other paraphernalia from their trucks. We saw no Black people for miles. We found an apartment north of Nashville, and it was significantly more expensive. But being able to see and be a neighbor to other Black people was priceless. Ironically, it was in this suburb that I was verbally assaulted and terrorized by some white teenagers. I was walking through a shopping center, and they followed behind me singing the white supremacist song "Alabama [expletive]." When I went into a bookstore, they followed me inside and continued to harass me. This was in 2018 on a regular Saturday evening at 7 p.m. I was afraid for my life.
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NICHOLAS GIBBS: My name is Nicholas Gibbs, and I am in Spring, Texas. To be Black in America, you have to endure white supremacy. You have to fear the police. To be white in America, you have the luxury of saying, they should have complied. To be Black in America, you have to hope someone recorded your compliance because you may no longer be around to defend yourself. To be Black in America, it's a beautiful struggle. One time, the LAPD used my house as a lookout for something happening across the street. Luckily, I wasn't home. I was at my college when my mom called me hysterically. She came home, and the door was wide open. And chairs were stacked up like a blockade in front of the windows. If I was home, the police could kill me after breaking into my house. The only reason we knew it was the police is because some neighbors saw them. To be white in America, you can say, wow, that was an unfortunate, isolated situation. To be Black in America, that was Tuesday. And who knows what Wednesday will bring?
MARTIN: Thanks to Danielle Atchison and Nicholas Gibbs for sharing their perspectives on being Black in America today. We're still collecting stories, and we'd like to hear yours. Head to npr.org to tell us about your experience as a Black person in America. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.