Standing Out in A Crowd

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Driving to meet some friends this morning I had a moment that is kind of common (for me anyway) in my suburban part of San Diego. A group of ladies were out for some exercise. I drove past and said to myself, "oh wow, black people!" And what's more, they were faces I haven't seen around town before.

There is one black woman I see quite often in my area between 8-9am. She must walk the same route because I can almost draw an 'X' on the sidewalk where our paths cross. She was not part of the group I saw this morning, which makes it all the more intriguing. Where do they live? How long have they been here that I haven't seen them before? When you're uncommon, it's easy to spot someone else who looks like you.

Since I started going to school I've almost always been the only black face in the class and one of few in the school. It got better in junior high and high school. College was an eye opener. But there are times when being a minority within a minority can be a little lonely.

Make no mistake, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I'm happy with the decision to move here. It reminds me a lot of where we moved when my family left Chicago. I still love that area and, as a parent, I'm happy I can give Tyler the same type of suburban experience I had growing up. But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't wonder how, if at all, our lives would be different if we lived somewhere else.

I didn't pull over and introduce myself this morning. I would have come off like a lunatic. But, if the women are new to the area, perhaps over time we'll run into each other more and more often and I'll be out walking with them one day, too.


  1. I felt the same way when I drove a Volkswagen, living in Texas. Now I drive a Ford and those guys are EVERYWHERE!

    (Kidding. I hope you find an opportunity to meet them. Making new friends is always awesome, regardless of the situation.)

  2. You are hilarious! I felt the same way when we lived in AZ.

    I remember walking around Target one day with the kids. A Black woman spotted me. We made eye contact. There was that awkward moment where you could see the elation in our eyes over seeing someone of color that wasn't in our immediate family. We might've blushed. She walked away. I walked away. She came scurrying back with her cart and asked in a desperate way, "I'm so sorry. I know this sounds... But... you're the... well, first... anyway... (sigh) Where do you get your hair done?!"

    We ended up having a great conversation between Hallmark cards in Target. I referred her to my hair dresser and she ended up becoming a regular member of the church we went to out there.

    Needless to say I'm glad to be back in San Diego, but apparently a different suburb because these days instead of my kids complaining, "Why are we the only brown people around here?" they say, "Wow Mom! There are some many different colored people here!" :)

  3. @Bejewell ROFL!

    @Michele I think that is the number one question I get!

  4. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and spent most of my life in the state of Georgia, specifically Atlanta. I don't know if I can communicate this the way I'd like to, but I feel compelled to try. Please forgive me if it comes out the wrong way.

    One of the things I miss the most about living in San Diego is having regular exposure to, and interactions with, the black community. I have black friends of course, but I mean beyond that. I don't believe in stereotyping and know that good, fun, smart and engaging people come from everywhere. As do assholes. Having said that, I feel sad that I don't get the chance to interact with a group of people that I spent most of my life interacting with.

    I hope that came out okay. I hesitate sometimes to chime in on conversations that don't specifically pertain to me. But I could relate--in a different way obviously--to what you wrote here Mel and I wanted to share my thoughts.


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