Road Tripping While Black: Readers Respond

This summer time I have to accompany my daughter on her transfer to California. There are states the place I’m not snug on the roads. I’m at all times afraid that the police will cease me. I’m afraid that I will likely be accused of doing one thing and the truth that I’m a middle-aged lawyer gained’t save me. And I’m cautious of stopping at institutions in cities the place I may not be wished. That is what racism does. It makes you cautious, on a regular basis, so we’ll doubtless fly regardless of the dangers of airplane journey.

Valerie Johnson, Durham, N.C.

Credit…Tyler Beckworth

Road journeys have at all times been a ardour of mine and I’ll definitely plan a couple of this summer time. However, being a black male has and can proceed to maintain sure locations off limits in my thoughts. Rolling by means of a small city and stopping within the native bar has at all times intrigued me, however until I’m with my white pals, I gained’t cease. There’s merely no realizing who’s in there. I’m positive I’ve missed out on an awesome bar with nice folks. But it’s not a threat I’m keen to take.

— Tyler Beckworth., Los Angeles, Calif.

My pals, who’re largely white, have a freedom in making journey plans I by no means will. I sweat each element from the place we cease for gasoline, spend the night time, even the aspect roads and detours we take.

I refuse to let concern dictate the alternatives I make, however there are limits to how a lot safety even probably the most considerable warning and vigilance can present. I’ve been extremely fortunate and by no means had a racial incident whereas driving, however I ponder with each journey whether or not or not that is the time my luck runs out.

— Spencer Gilbert, New York, N.Y.

I’ve taken a number of quick and lengthy street journeys throughout America, together with one bicycle journey from San Francisco to Washington D.C., precisely 10 years in the past this June. Of all my worldwide travels, it was the bicycle journey throughout America that frightened my family and friends probably the most. Two black ladies on bicycles using by means of Middle America. We had been extremely seen and had a lot of interactions with different vacationers and folk in small-town America. Our consciousness was heightened, however we didn’t expertise any overt hatred. We did expertise many acts of kindness, like a journey into city throughout a hailstorm. Or when a white police chief in a small city allow us to camp in his yard as a result of the one motel on the town mentioned that they had “no vacancy.” We heard many opinions from native, black, white and immigrant communities about our journey and about their politics. We noticed indicators protesting Obama. Mostly folks had been shocked and curious to see us.

— April Banks, Los Angeles, Calif.

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