Since my son, Joshua, was four years old, he would talk about seeing the world. In his mind, being an adult would bring a sense of freedom, allowing him to do whatever he wanted to do.
I personally have never thought that dream was realistic.
By the time Joshua was nine years old, he would realize that too with the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin.
I can remember it as if it was yesterday. Joshua and I were having breakfast at a Waffle House in Charlotte, NC. He had never mentioned Trayvon before that morning. Out of nowhere, he said, "Ma, I could've been Trayvon Martin." Joshua was about two months shy of his 10th birthday. I didn't even know he paid attention to the news.
I looked across the table at his delicate chubby-cheeked face. His eyes were big, bright, innocent, and serious at the same time. He took a sip of orange juice and seemed to wait for my response.
All I could think is, 'Yes, he could have been Trayvon Martin.' There was nothing else to tell him but the truth. That was our first real discussion about racism in America.
When my son turned 18, the world should have opened up for him. But it didn't. Instead, as a mother, I became more protective, and I began to preach even more about the dangers of being a Black man in America.
I see news article after news article about young Black men being murdered or having the police called on them for simply just living life. Seriously, for things like bird watching, hanging in a park, or even being at their own homes.
So, when I write an article about people working to make sure that Black people feel safe traveling and it gets so much negativity, it's disheartening but also validation that I need to continue doing the work.
Efforts like WayOut, an organization working to map safe and inclusive places for Black people to enjoy the outdoors, may change how I feel and others like me feel about traveling in the US. It just might help alleviate some of those fears that do exist.
Do I believe that most Black people traveling across the US make it home safely and do not encounter racist behaviors? Yes. But I don't want to have a false sense of security potentially allowing any of my loved ones to become a statistic. That's just my reality.
Here are a few comments regarding our most recent Black Like Us article
(Note: These comments were taken verbatim. There was no editing. There may be profanity and typos. In addition, all of the commenters are not white. There is a comment from a Hispanic resident living in Texas and another from a Black man who camps.)
Absolutely ridiculous article! I'm a Hispanic living in TX and can go and camp anywhere I please without fear of the great "white boogie man". And all my non-white friends fell the exact same way. Just another article trying to stoke racism where their isn't any!
This was the most disgusting article that I have read ! Black people don't feel safe camping around White people, that is ridiculous, enough with pulling the race card . Stop blaming White people for your insecurities and failures !
What a bunch of crap! Just another angle to play victim and make money!
Why you Black people always make it about race I'll never know. How bout a railroad that helps everyone outdoors?? Always want to present facts, but its always half the effin facts. Just make it up as you go. How would you Blacks feel if someone had something like this just for Whites?? Oh then it would be racism. Always a double standard with you people.
Nothing says racism like saying Trump flags are racist. This writer is racist
Im going to create one for whites only. What you say about that? Ucking reverse racism. Its only racist when someone white says or does something !!! It's sickening
Only black people……racist much? This is very misguided, assuming that all people who voted for trump are racist is extremely divisive. Racist exist in both parties and singeing out one is wrong. Stop allowing the media To brainwash you! Segregation is not a good idea, the only way to stop the ignorance is to be together get to know each other and see that we have so much in common. We are all brother and sisters, stop separation us by color.
This article is bullshit and leftist propaganda to help try and divide people instead of unite. Why the hell cant people just get along? Above ground railroad? If they want to take a train ride, buy a ticket and make a day of it. Just because someone is holding a trump sign or biden sign does not mean you are not allowed to use the "above ground railroad" like this is not 1950 anymore. It is 2021. This is beyond stupid but whoever wrote this article is a attention seeking choas starting fool!
My opinion is that this article is bullshit. I own a camper and have been in campgrounds all over Mississippi. I've been treated with the utmost hospitality every single time. As an owner of a small rv campground in South Mississippi, reading this article made me shake my head. While we have not had any black campers yet, all of our guests have been the nicest people in the world whether they flew a Trump or Biden flag. I'd like to know more about their experience when they had to find a new campground. I would never create a product that caters to one race. To each their own though.