"My first "victim" was a woman-white, well dressed, probably in her twenties."
I probably seem like the "youngish black man- abroad six feet two inches.... seeming menacingly close."
I think he's following me! I have to get away!
That was more than a decade ago. I was 23 years old, a graduate student newly arrived at the University of Chicago.... It was clear that she thought herself the quarry of a mugger, a rapist, or worse..... As a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken...i was surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed at once.
My first year...away from my hometown... there were the... unpleasantries with police, doormen, bouncers, cabdrivers...
....being perceived as dangerous is a hazard itself.
I've moved to New York nearly two years ago and I have remained an avid night walker. But, black men have a firm place in New York mugging literature. I understand, of course, that the danger they perceive is not a hallucination. Women are particularly vulnerable to street violence, and young black males are drastically over-represented among the perpetrators of that violence.
My Negro Problem-and Ours
Let me through!
Many things go into the making of a young thug. One of those things is the consummation of the male romance with power to intimidate... We, as men, are not suppose to give an inch of our lane on the highway... sieze the fighter's edge in work...in play...even in love.
Another time I was on assignment for a local paper and killing time.... I entered a jewelry store.... The proprietors excused herself and returned with an enormous red Doberman... She stood, the dog extended towards me... I took a cursory look around, nodded, and bade her good night.