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Faculty scholar worries about racism at residence

Dear Readers: To mark my final week writing this column, I’ve fired up the “Ask Amy” Wayback machine and am re-running some memorable Q&As culled from the last 21 years of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy: I’m a college student from the suburbs of San Francisco. I’ve been attending college in New York.

My best friend from school is coming to visit me this summer, and I couldn’t be more excited! But, excitement aside, I do have concerns.

In a time where people of color, especially men, are having the police called on them for everything from waiting for a friend in Starbucks to taking a nap in a common area of a dorm building, I am worried about my neighbors’ potential reaction to a man of color showing up in their predominantly white suburb.

I have toyed with the idea of making a post on nextdoor.com[a neighborhood social media site] asking people to think twice before panicking, should they see my friend walking down the street, as he belongs there as much as they do, but I know my county prides itself on being a liberal and progressive area, and I don’t want to insult anyone.

I don’t want to upset my community by accusing them of racist behavior I have never witnessed, but I am aware of incidents taking place in similar communities.

I do not know what to do to offend as few people as possible, while still trying to make sure my friend feels safe and welcome in the place I call home.

Your suggestion?

— Toeing the Line

Dear Toeing the Line: In recent neighborhood news, “neighbors” in a community similar to yours called the police because they saw an African-American firefighter (in uniform) performing a safety inspection in the neighborhood. The firefighter’s white (female) colleague said that in the future, she would accompany him on neighborhood sprinkler checks, basically for his own safety.

You should start this process by notifying your friend that your neighbors are somewhat likely to “panic” and call the police if he is bold enough to walk through the neighborhood while also being Black.

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