To Murray Archibald:
I've just finished reading your latest article in Letters entitled "Black and White" and I am deeply touched. I sincerely thank you for sharing your thoughts and understanding what I have experienced during my existence.
As a 61 year old gay Black man, I have been faced with racism my entire life and I have had enough. I often hear "we've come a long way," but it's still the same—only from a different angle.
My husband and I became full-time downtown Rehoboth residents five years ago after living in Washington DC and Baltimore together for 27 years. We're both retired and enjoy the beauty of this great city and we're both happy with our decision to move. Our trade off in the relocation was dodging bullets in the city for facing stupid people in the country. For me, it's easier to walk away from ignorance than run from knives. Would you believe that while living here I have been called "Boy," "Darkie" and a couple of N-words? The pattern has been the same— gray haired White people obviously not used to being around Blacks. Not once has a White individual under 30 used those words. Who's the mature group? My reaction has mostly been calm and I face the racist eye-to-eye, inform them of the mistake and demand respect by requesting they never use those words around me in the future. (Okay, one guy was slapped after the N-word!). I have met some wonderful people here yet there are many who can't hide their less than intelligent minds.
My years of psychology and the study of human behavior have taught me how to interpret body language and facial movements. One has five to ten seconds for a first impression. I am very selective of where I socialize here and who I allow in my circle of friends. I chose not to be part of many organizations and churches because I know where I am not wanted, appreciated or accepted. Sad to say I have developed a wall when introduced to anyone with gray hair and White. I often hear a "Black" joke, some of my best friends are Black, queries of my skin or "Why do Black people" questions within five minutes. My reaction is standard, "Ooops, I just heard my phone—gotta go!" Why can't White people say, "Hi Wayne, what's new?" and have a decent conversation without a race remark? Believe it or not, I've grown to find it comical and sad because I know I am much stronger with the ability to make those enemies my footstools.
The hatred and racism in Delaware does not and will not scare me away because these beaches and the wonders of Rehoboth are for everybody.
In the words of Maya Angelou "Still I Rise."
Letters to Letters should be emailed to CAMP Rehoboth. Letters must include a name and phone number, and may be edited for length and clarity. Anonymous letters will not be published.