KB, a non-white reader, wrote about the following situation, wondering if the feelings it provoked are legitimate. Can you offer this person any help?
I just came back from college and received one of the biggest culture shocks of my life. I was raised in one of the last remaining all-black neighborhoods in Los Angeles; it's called Leimert Park. I had very few friends that were white, and at the time it bothered me. I wanted to find someone with whom I could discuss my love of Coldplay and Bjork (which is probably a stereotype in itself).
So, I thought going to a small liberal arts college would help me meet open-minded people of all races. I was fully aware that most of these people would most likely be white. However, through a series of unfortunate events, I became aware of the prejudice and outright racism alot of white people, and even some other POC, have toward Black people. Most of them have to do with the alleged lack of intelligence that Black people have.
So, when the time came to go home, I couldn't wait to return to my Black family/community that held the same beliefs as mine, and where my intelligence was celebrated and never doubted. Rising house prices have caused many white families that lived further inland to move to Leimert Park and other Black communities that were once considered "bad neighborhoods."
On Sunday, there was an artwalk in the market place of Leimert Park. There was a drum circle, everyone had on dashikis, or some other type of afrocentric garb. Almost everyone there had dreadlocks or afros. All of the featured art depicted the black struggle or black leaders. It was basically a BLACK event, or an event for POC. I was sooo excited to finally experience MY culture in MY community after a whole year!
But while I was dancing in the drum circle, a group of white onlookers caught my eye. And as the day progressed, I saw more and more. They were all pretty young and hipster-y. When I saw them, I felt completely deflated, I didn't even want to be there anymore, I had this sudden flash of xenophobia and fears of gentrification.
I felt like if this kept happening, there wouldn't be any events like this in Leimert Park ever again. I feel really guilty for feeling like this.
Is it wrong for me to feel like this?