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  • Doug1943

    Is it Black folks who can't ask for help, or is it anyone who can't ask for help?

    Probably race, age and sex have a lot to do with whom we are afraid of, and who we are likely to take a chance with to help. Most people read the newspapers or watch TV, and they have a pretty good idea about the statistical association of violent crime with different ages, races, and sexes. They make a quick rational calculation about how much of a chance to take.

    Here is a thought experiment: three elderly Vietnamese ladies knock on your door asking for help. How likely are you to open the door?

    Now, change race, age and sex: it's three young black males knocking on your door. How likely are you to open it?


  • Hannah Priest

    As i read this i become more and more disgusted with the human race. Yes, i am cautious and if someone i don't know comes to my door i will have my handgun near my just in case i need it, but i am not so inhumane that i would not help a person (black or white).
    Thank you for posting this, because it makes me realize how... cold we are as humans. I feel disgusted as i sit here and look around and wonder "How many of these people walk by other people who need help and don't even glance over?" Granted, I can't help everyone all the time and neither can anyone else, but if you see someone in need, put aside some damn time and HELP. Don't ASSUME. That's what gets people shot.

  • Libramom

    True. I've already told my son - if you need help ... call 911 and ask for the FIRE DEPT...not the cops. Don't approach anyone, don't knock on any doors - NOTHING. He also has the number on speed dial to a friend of mine who is a lawyer...God forbid if anything happens - don't call me - call her first, your lawyer. I'm sick and tired of People of Color being hunted for sport by these people. It is NOT okay...and sadly, I've also told my son - don't help ANYONE....because God forbid cops come on the scene and determine you aren't helping - but hurting - and shoot him dead.

  • gregdoxey

    this is so true. I live in San Franciso where we are 6% of the pop and at one time 60% again 60% of the jail population. I'm not saying some of those shouldn't be locked up but it indicates through basic ratio that Blacks must be bad people and all other races in San Francisoc is good not I'm Black and I see people other than black commiting crimes.. jay walking, riding bikes on sidewalks which is a violation but I see blacks get stop for thing slike that and other races do it in front of a police officer and nothing happens. It is so bad here on that I'm can be in a lounge or a club and I may be the only black in the club because we are stero-typed and made to feel uncomfortable in the social nite life. I been out the country so I'm very confident in my skin. But I speak for others. :-)

  • David Knox

    Please continue to publish your thoughts. This is valuable and important information and what will happen if we don't read it and share it with others than ourselves. Push my friend.

  • maypole

    Startlingly lucid essay!

    "In two recent books from the University of North Carolina Press, two historians argue— from different perspectives—that racial progress falls far short of the dream posited 50 years ago by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Both Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940, by Jonathan Scott Holloway, and Seeing Race in Modern America, by Matthew Pratt Guterl, maintain that beneath the veneer of radical advancement, the nation’s underlying understanding of race has largely remained the same." (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    • gregdoxey

      very true thi even effects are Obama if you remember how he was treated by his peers in the 1st 2 years of his term... it runs deep.

  • Quinnja

    A few years ago, as I was walking from my car to my apartment, 3 black men asked me for help. They asked if I knew a Charles that lived in my complex. I said no, looking toward my apartment, then turned back around to a gun in my fucking face. Those cowards make me keep walking every time I am asked for help from anyone. We're not all ignorant racists. Some of us tried to help and paid dearly.

    • Quinnja

      If someone is visibly injured or a woman seems like she is trying to get away from someone, that is a different story. Just because I don't stop to help someone that is black, doesn't mean I would stop to help someone that is white.

  • McKenna Rowe

    AS I am a woman out alone by myself, I don't usually volunteer to help anyone unless it's a woman alone as well, just for my own safety--if you're in a desperate situation, and the first person you go running to is me, I probably wouldn't help you (whether white or black or whatever) if you're a guy. But i'd offer to call the police for you or something. There are a lot of scams where men approach you at the gas pump, bus stop, etc "please i need your help my car broke down etc etc"...bad news...

  • Rafe Chisolm

    Thank you for writing this, I've had a lot of similar thoughts/emotions going through my mind. I'm a black guy living in a predominantly black neighborhood in the city in a neighborhood I've known for a while. I remember one night it was 3am and after sleeping on the couch I hear some knocks and mumbling at my front door - not the first time by far. Usually it's guys working odd jobs - or the occasional person asking if someone else still lived there. This time no one ever answered the knocks when I asked who it was. I have a security door so when I looked outside and saw no one, I thought maybe I was dreaming. Then I heard the knocks again, and I asked who it was. I heard some faint mumbling and immediately got my gun, hollered to the person at the door to say who they were and that I was armed. No answer. I called 911 and told the dispatcher I was NOT opening the door or leaving my house with my firearm. This is another reality that as a black person in America even when calling for help, you have to give every indication you yourself are not a threat, otherwise even police might take your life, as in the case of Jonathan Farrell and countless nameless others .

    As I waited in my house, I wondered who it was. Where they were. If they looked like me (and honestly I assumed they did) or if I was ready to have to defend myself if they came in before the police could arrive. What if I became the targets of the police? In the end I wished I just didn't have to call anyone at all. Like you said, I wished to have not even asked for help at all...

    I saw the police lights flashing outside, I was still on with the dispatcher because I wanted to clearly communicate that when I was opening that door I was not approaching an officer armed. I looked out, opened my security door with my phone in my hand so the officer could see I had nothing else. As he motioned over his should I saw who the person was knocking on my door

    An 80-something year old woman with dimentia who was wandering the streets at night out of confusion. A woman who days earlier I assisted her while she was hunched almost entirely over her walker. Maybe she remembered my kindness and actually noticed where I lived? Eitherway, I felt embarassed at the whole spectacle of being afraid of an elderly woman, someone I even sought to help days earlier - but at least everyone was safe. What bothers me more though, are cases like Renisha's, where none of what transpired sounds like someone who acted in fear of their life - but rather in completely conscious disregard for a black person's life. In the end I'm not sure if the conditioned fear of someone black is any better than someone conditioned to hate black people - the end result is the same, and fear and hate are never far apart, our lives are constantly in danger - even when seeking help from danger.

  • Richard Starr

    t may not be about race per se, People are afraid of strangers. Sadly, frequently, with good cause.

    Take a look at an early scene in a Clockwork Orange from the 60's. A group of apparently clean cut young white men as for help at a rich white persons house. On gaining entry they rape the woman and cripple her husband.

    There are countless scenes in the movies/TV where the act of lending aid to some "victim" results in the would be aider being harmed. And even when you just look at reality, you see cases where someone needing aid is helped only to sue the person aiding them later on. Thus creating the need for the various good Samaritan laws. Sad.

    We have parts of society asking us to be vigilant, while another calls us racist. We have parts asking us to participate in policing, while another calls us "snitches".

  • cleve.sharpe

    My sister, a white woman, struggled to escape her white, would-be, killers. She frantically knocked on several doors seeking help in a black neighborhood only to be turned away by all but one family. I, however, can't blame them for their reluctance to help. One doesn't have to try very hard to imagine what might happen when police find a bloodied white woman on the door step of a black man. I am very thankful for the brave man who took a chance and helped my sister. Probably saving her life.

  • Lauren Bell

    But I've been feeling very human over the last few years.

    that's beautiful writing.

  • Lauren Bell

    "But I've been feeling very human over the last few years."

    beautifully said, all around.

  • Mauro Ampessan

    Every day that a crime of this magnitude happens I feel more and more ashamed to live in a world with people like those criminals.
    Every day I read a text that expresses what you just written with so much heart on it and I see the positive impact that you caused, Andre, I am proud to see that we have brothers around the world who think like us. Thank you for making me proud.

  • Susan Raisch

    This is so beautifully written and so thought-provoking. Thank you.

  • Cyril B. Saulny

    Andre, thank you for your insight. and you well know, that If, and only if a race riot starts, Tiger Woods and Governor Piush "Bobby" Jindal of the State of Louisiana, should either run with us, or fight with us. Because, "they" are not going to ask them their names.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I like that you're encouraging black folk to be more vulnerable and say why they're scared of asking for help. I never really thought about this issue which seems so obvious, so thank you.