Apparently all of my neighbors are racists. At least that’s what the woman who lives across the street told her son. Well, more like yelled at him. I don’t think she is actually capable of talking the way most human beings understand it. Of course, that could be because everytime I get within five feet of her all I can smell is beer.
Her son, who I think is 16, was up on a ladder trying to clean out the gutters. The problem was that he was using a ladder he decided to take from a neighbor’s yard without asking. She was very concerned the neighbors would sue them. Not because he’d stolen their ladder though, because “people in this neighborhood don’t like black people.”
She continued to rail on about those of us surrounding her. Apparently we all sit out in our front yards for the sole purpose of hearing all their business. My husband, ironically, was in the front yard and heard every word she said, not because he cares about her ever so important business, but because he was weeding our flower beds. He was the only person within eyesight in his front yard. No one, except for their family, spends any length of time in their front yard. And there’s a good reason for it.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone in our neighborhood. I think there are several families who probably have no idea who she even is. Although from the way she carries on every day, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone in our rather small neighborhood could actually hear her. And, for all I know some of them may actually dislike her family based only on the color of their skin. That, however, is not why I dislike them, although I freely admit that I do dislike them.
Well, at least I dislike some of them. I’m not actually sure how many people live in the house. When we first moved in it seemed to be a young couple and their daughter. They had a steady stream of visitors, but most arrived sometime after I left for work and usually left before it got too dark out. Then, came an influx of relatives. I think they may be siblings of someone. It’s impossible to tell because at any given time there are half a dozen cars parked either in their driveway or along the street, right in the exact spot that makes it hard to get out of my driveway without hitting them. Last winter I actually had to ask one guy, who doesn’t live there but comes over every single day, to park further back so that I could get out of my driveway. He was very nice about it, but as soon as the snow melted, another car, which visits about every other day, took his place.
In addition to all the cars, there are always about a dozen kids running around the yard. This alone doesn’t bother me. I think four or five of them actually live over there. What bothers me is that none of the adults over there seems to talk to any of them. They yell everything. And since someone is sitting in their front yard (I don’t think they ever use their backyard) from about 9 am until about 9 pm, someone is always yelling. I can hear them telling kids to “come back here,” “stop hitting her” or “not to ride in by the cars” when I am sitting on my back porch all the way across the street. Sometimes I can hear them when I’m in my living room, with my house completely shut up and my TV on.
And the kids don’t seem to have any respect for other people’s property. They ride up into our driveway, which again isn’t that big of a deal, except that they ride all over our lawn and sometimes into our flower beds. Even when they stay in the driveway, they hoop and holler, often when my son is trying to nap. My husband walked into the garage to get something a few weeks ago (our garage door was up since he was doing yard work) and found two girls from across the street just standing in our driveway staring into our garage. They didn’t say anything, just watched him for a minute and then walked away.
All this is annoying, but not the worst of it. During the summer, when their friends come over to visit, they crank up the music. And not from a stereo inside, from one of the cars in the driveway, which is all tricked out with bass so deep that it shakes my house. They play it loud enough that when it’s not distorted by bass, I can understand the lyrics.
The topper though, is that they’ve started asking us for money. I was pulling out of my driveway on the way to the store when a guy I’d never seen before walked across and motioned to me that he needed to tell me something. I thought maybe something was wrong with one of my tires or that I’d left something on my roof. Nope. He was a relative of someone living in the house and needed to borrow a couple of bucks to fill his tank up so that he could get to work. Never mind the fact that three cars were parked in the driveway/street and the front door appeared to be open, he came to me, a complete stranger and asked for money. I didn’t have any cash on me, and I told him that. He abruptly walked away, saying merely “fine.” When I told my husband about it, he said the same guy had approached him earlier in the week as he came home and gave him the same story. And just this past weekend he caught one of my older neighbors and tried to bum cash off of her. She made the mistake of giving it to him once before and this time refused. She said he walked off in a huff.
I want to walk over to my neighbor and explain to her that the reason I dislike her has nothing to do with the color of her skin, but rather her rude and inappropriate behavior. Especially with accusing the entire neighborhood of hating blacks, since while I may seethe inside about their behavior, I have never been anything but nice to them. Every time I see her, I wave, smile and even make polite small talk. I know the little girl’s name and talk to her regularly. The only “mean” thing I’ve ever done was ask them to move a car and refused to give a stranger money.
I can’t do this of course, because calling someone a racist is the ultimate trump card. No matter what comes out of your mouth in defense, it’s just another example of how racist you are. While I understand that there are many prejudice people in this world and I don’t doubt that there have been people who have disliked her because of her race, I abhor people who immediately assume everyone who disagrees with them, doesn’t like to listen to them scream in their front yard, or doesn’t like to have their possessions taken without their knowledge is a racist. I want to shake people and say, “believe it or not, I just dislike you because you are you.” But in their eyes that would make me a racist.
I know I’ve harped on this before, but it just irritates me to no end when people excuse their horrid behavior, their failures in life or their personal lack of ambition on “racism.” It’s not always the “man” keeping you down. Often it’s yourself and your own views and attitudes. For racism to actually end, it means everyone needs to stop making excuses (and this includes those racist assholes who feel it is ok to dislike/treat poorly/or abuse someone based on their sex/ethnicity/religion/or sexual preference) and start actually taking responsibility for themselves.
They also need to stop broadcasting their business to the neighborhood and asking me for money.