An open letter to people who like slowing down their cars to yell things

Kelao Charmaine Neumbo, News Editor


Just stop it.

If you have not yet realized, your attention is surprisingly unwarranted. I know it may seem confusing at times, so I wanted to address any misunderstandings you might have.

It may not seem like it to you but when I am walking down the street, or basically minding my own business and living my life, it is not an invitation for you to slow down in the middle of traffic to yell “ we don’t want you here,” and other racial slurs.

In the little time I have been here I have had a small taste of what it is like to be on the receiving end of this kind of racism and the amount of times I have encountered you is absolutely absurd.

First things first. I’m not an object for your hate, I’m not a thing. I am a person. I should be able to walk down the streets without fearing a red pick-up truck will roll down its windows to proclaim their desire to extract the world of all melanin. Let me be perfectly clear — slowing down your car in the middle of the road is harassment and you make everyone around you uncomfortable. Your idiocy is borderline embarrassing and you should be ashamed of the lack of character that you display.

When I have no reaction to your ignorance, it is not because I have nothing to say. It is because I’m shocked, I’m insulted, and frankly, scared. My silence is not acceptance. My silence is a response. The people that witness what you do and do nothing are no better. They are even worse than the “it isn’t a big deal” and I should “just get over it”  responses people give.

Despite these negative experiences, they have not devalued my time here at all – in fact, I’ve learned so much more from it. Over the weekend, some friends of mine and I signed out some bikes and cycled downtown in the beautiful weather to an ice cream parlour. I cannot tell you the amount of happiness and laughter that filled the streets as we cycled. It was pure black girl magic. We didn’t mind that people were staring, but what happened next was unprovoked and completely unasked for.

Most of us didn’t hear the yelling because we were laughing so hard from childhood stories we were telling. I saw you trying to get our attention but my friends didn’t even notice you. You actually thought you weren’t yelling loud enough but our laughter drowned out your hate and you couldn’t get to us. You must’ve realized how pathetic you looked because you hurriedly rolled up you windows and sped off after the lady next to us came to our defense. 

What you tried to do didn’t work. What you had to say to us from your car window didn’t work. That was a moment of joy amongst friends you couldn’t steal because you can’t stifle us: the harder you try the more we will radiate. So just stop it.

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations with which the author(s) are associated.

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