Washington, DC

pain sculpture

“Dear PoPville,

Last evening I had an experience that I’m curious if others might be familiar with. My pregnant wife and I were walking our dog along Illinois Ave. at Farragut just about a block from our home and as we pass a house with two 50-something year old African-American guys out on the front porch, we hear one of the guys start muttering under his breath and then gradually raising his voice into a yell for the whole neighborhood to hear.


This went on in various combinations of these phrases basically as long as we were in his view. The other guy on the front porch just chuckled.

So what am I supposed to do in this situation? We just assumed the guy was drunk so we just ignored it and kept walking, but it’s very disturbing and discouraging and bothered me the rest of the night. Do you call the cops? Do you say something to the guy?

Some might say casual racism is par for the course in a gentrifying neighborhood, but I don’t accept it.”

Comments (259)

  1. bloomingdale Res

    Keep walking, unless you want to start a dialog with them.

  2. Never, every start dialogs with idiots, drunks, and the deranged… you will never “win”

  3. Accept it. Move on. Be better than those 2 people. They are clearly upset and taking it on you. What can you really do without putting yourself and your future in serious jeopardy. This has happened to me plenty of times in Columbia Heights. I don’t make eye contact, move swiftly and ignore it for the most part. It’s simply not worth the risk to confront.

  4. +1. You’re not going to change his mind on this. Just be a good neighbor.

  5. Yeah, I agree with others. I’ve had similar experiences, but not in a while. Don’t worry about it.

  6. I had a similar situation walking South on 9th the other day just before Webster. Some dude was sitting on the porch by himself with a six pack and started to mutter “well I guess I gotta get some better friends.” As I passed I got up and started following me saying “Well it’s hard being a cracker mother-f**”, huh?”. Not loudly, but just loud enough I could hear.
    I just ignored the dude and kept on going. Most people in the neighborhood are really friendly.

  7. I wasn’t there and I’m not a doctor, but my guess is this has a lot more to do with an underlying mental illness than the color of your skin, or anything about you in particular.

  8. ^this.
    The majority of the chronic homeless are people with mental illness.

    There’s a good sporting chance this person suffers from untreated schizophrenia or other disorders. A better chance, I’d say, than this being some targeted, planned statement about anti-gentrification.

    Although, curiously enough, there is something “gentrification-ish” about someone saying “I encountered someone undesirable and unpleasant in my neighborhood – make it stop.”

  9. "Juice" Terry Lawson

    I don’t agree that this is mental illness, unless you agree that the frat brother from Oklahoma was mentally ill. The guy you encountered is a racist, full stop. Obviously the relative suffering white people experience due to racism can’t be compared with what minorities have gone through (being insulted by a man on his porch is clearly not the same as institutionalized discrimination in applying for jobs, mortgages etc). But this is simply one person being racist to another.

  10. There’s no reason that Porch Guy can’t be both — mentally ill and racist/bigoted/prejudiced/whatever you wish to call it.
    The way he accosted the OP is incoherent enough to make me think he’s at least somewhat unhinged.

  11. Anthony Forrest Sr.

    I totally agree but I will tell you what there real problem is there frustrated that there neighborhood was once a predominantly black neighborhood has been over run with white people and their tired of it yes there racist but at the end of the day it’s true there buying up everything in DC and there pushing black people out mentally disturbed? No mentally frustrated absolutely. I’ve lived in the district all my life 42 year’s to be exact and I see it everyday personally I could care less what they uttered black people deal with racism everyday in some form or fashion but the minute a black person says something slick out the mouth white people characterize you as mentally disturbed or wanna call the police. The difference between black racism and white racism black people don’t hide how they feel white people are careful when or who they say it to until they get caught Please. Grow some balls. You need advice on how to act like a man? I’m not surprised. SMDH (that means Shaking My Damn Head)

  12. So it’s better to be an outspoken racist than a secret racist? Lord.

  13. This times 1,000. We used to have a neighbor who was generally a very sweet man. But he was mentally ill and when he went off his meds, he’d curse out local black male teens as thugs, black women as whores and whites male and female as crackers at the top of his voice.

    Then social service would come visit, get him back on his meds and once more, he was the kind, gentle neighbor. No one ever took his diatribes personally.

  14. Count Pheasant

    Say “Have a great evening,” and move on.

  15. I agree with this statement. If a person is sitting on a porch of a home they are likely not homeless. I would not try to change his mind, but you can ‘be the change you would like to see in the world’ and be kind to him. “It’s a beautiful night for a walk! Have a good one!” – Would show this gentleman that you are not in the neighborhood to have a negative impact on him or his community, but instead be positive. If he continues being negative at least you can feel like you tried something.

  16. what do you do? haha
    just keep on keeping on

    doesnt sound like you were in any danger
    just an old guy expressing his views, as wrong as they may be

    id still be friendly regardless though, maybe a sincere smile and wave next time you cross him & hopefully he is in a different state of mind

    if not just ignore it like it never took place imo

  17. +100 Maybe he was drunk, maybe he just watched an old Chris Rock special…. maybe the white neighbor next to him was suing him for smoking in his own house… lol

    be the man your dog thinks you are….

  18. marlene parker

    Maybe he is mentally ill.

  19. call the cops?! oy vey. say something? not unless you want to get in an altercation with someone who likely has a drug/alcohol problem and/or mental illness. since this is only a block from your house- do you know the people that live there or other neighbors? they may have some insight as to who lives there/what the issues are.

  20. Michael Ruffin

    Smile, move on, and be sure to walk by that house everyday with your dog.

  21. I’ve had a similar situation happen to me numerous times around Hobart and Sherman. Harassment and aggressive yelling which made me feel very uncomfortable. It always happens when I’m walking by myself and I have also debated what to do. The temptation to yell back, even if it’s just to say that I don’t care what she thinks, is strong, but I have a feeling she’d actually come after me if I did that. I probably should call the cops, but haven’t yet. But I empathize with how much it bothered you — what gets me is that I live here and don’t feel that I should have to endure this simply walking down my street minding my own business.

  22. Altercations with neighbors are really never a good idea.

  23. Curious to know what would happen if a white person started screaming these things to a black person…..

  24. Well, when such things have happened to me, and they have, I usually try to look for a safe public place to go if I need to, and walk away without engaging the person. I try to avoid bringing in the cops, because there’s always a chance, however small, that I might be in more danger from a cop with a gun then I am from some random person with a nasty mouth. I do have to say that when a little old lady muttered Schwartz behind my back, I responded in both Yiddish and English – but I did so because this was someone I am likely to encounter frequently, and I did my best to quash what could easily have become an ongoing problem.

  25. White people were yelling things at black people for a long time – it was called slavery.

  26. It happens all the time. Stop trying to play the “white people are now the victims” card.

  27. Exactly. I like how this person’s scenario begins with, “curious to know what would happen if…” like this is somehow a new phenomenon that black people are not familiar with

  28. It does happen…all the time for 400 years in America. And according to the FBI blacks are most often victims of hate crimes in America, constituting over half.

  29. It would be on the evening news!

  30. In case you just moved to America, that used to and still happens to minorities in this country.

  31. Walk there all the time

    My wife and I (both white, FWIW) walk this area/ of Illinois all the time, and we often see people on their porches. Fortunately, nothing like this has happened to us. (We moved to Petworth in 2004, and it used to happen pretty often back then.) In fact, most people are really friendly and will wave and say hello to you, tell you to have a nice evening, etc.

    I would echo the statements to just ignore them and move on and that it has to do more with them than you, but I would add: Don’t let this single event stop you from going for walks in the area. Keep going out. Keep being nice to people no matter how they are to you. The fact is, these guys are in the minority with the attitudes they have. We are a community of black, white, hispanic, asian, and many others. There’s room for all of us. There’s not room for behavior like these guys portrayed.

  32. What would you suggest to a black friend of yours who passes by a couple of white people who shout racist stuff at them?

    I’d keep an eye out for any escalation, but otherwise ignore them.

  33. Smile and a chuckle. Sounds quite entertaining :-)

  34. I just don’t understand this type of attitude from people in up-and-coming neighborhoods like Petworth and Brightwood. Don’t they understand that gentrification has nothing to do with race, but rather is about new residents who see a lot of potential in that part of the city and want to help make that community a better place? A young family with a friendly dog is exactly who you want as a neighbor, and it’s just saddening to see them picked out as a target of reverse-racism and hostility like this. But I suppose that’s why it’s said that the arc of the moral universe is long, even if it bends towards justice.

  35. I get your point, but really, when the vast majority of “gentrifiers” are white and are moving into historically black neighborhoods, then race does play a role. Not saying the comments or attitude of the people on the porch is in anyway acceptable, but to deny race is an issue in neighborhoods here is just being willfully blind or naive. As for what to do, I think all the suggestions on here (especially ones about being friendly and getting to know your neighbors) are spot on.

  36. Actually Petworth originally had a large jewish population, so you could say it is a historically jewish neighborhood.

  37. Yeah I was going to chime in similarly. Petworth became predominantly black in the 60s from what I know. This is in contrast to Shaw or H st which were historically black. Still 50 years is enough for a generations to root deeply.

    Many people are averse to change. It’s just life in the big city…

  38. H Street was mostly white before 1950.

  39. Yeah, I come from a long line of local Jews and a lot of my older aunts and uncles grew up in Petworth.

  40. And it was in fact a Jewish neighborhood because at the time, other parts of town did not allow blacks OR Jews to live in their neighborhoods.

  41. While we are at it, you could say it is a historically native american neighborhood. This doesn’t have much to do with the current dynamics playing out.

  42. @Goldfish33 +1 Neighborhoods changed pretty dramatically in the ’60s and ’70s. The current dynamics have more to do with the people who stayed after the riots than who was there before.

  43. And it was all Native American at one point… But the fact is Black people did not price white people out of their neighborhood. They moved on their own accord, because of their own racist tendencies. It’s a different situation.

  44. Not all of them. The Irish and Italian communities that built Swampoodle and worked as stonemasons on projects like Union Station left after the government razed their shantytown communities to make way for more development. Got pushed out to DC suburbs and kept coming into DC for a while to attend the churches that remained (like Holy Rosary).

    Eerily similar to what’s been happening now to places like Barry Farms – government gets rid of established communities to make way for more “desirable” development. There’s not much new about this narrative.

  45. Adam S. Morgan

    yeah and georgetown was largely black…. look up black georgetown… an interesting book

  46. To be fair, it does work both ways here. My parents generation felt like they were pushed out of historically white/Italian/Irish areas of Queens/Brooklyn in the 60s and 70s by African Americans and they sure didn’t welcome them in with open arms either.

  47. I don’t think you can really compare the White Flight of the 60s/70s in NYC with the White Return of the 00’s/01s. White Flight was racist in that they were fleeing the black middle classes who were moving into traditionally white areas (due to banning of redlining in real estate finance). Once blacks were “allowed” to own homes, the whites fled in droves. We’re now seeing the reverse of the White Flight phenomenon, with similar consequences.
    My guess is that the suburbs are our slums in 30 years.

  48. It was not always middle class blacks moving in, especially in neighborhoods where the whites were poor or working class. It was often poor blacks, sometimes with real issues of crime. There were also areas where the whites who lived there were victims of racially motivated violence during the riots.

  49. Well crime also rose and people felt “unsafe” for actual reasons and for the reason of the unknown. I definitely think it’s a viable comparison, but both being for totally opposite reasons but having in a sense the same effect.

  50. I’m not sure that the Llama was really comparing the white-flight/white-return phenomena themselves — more looking at it as a case of “Existing residents see new residents moving in and are wary/disapproving/etc. New residents perceive their move as a great opportunity, but existing residents don’t agree.”

  51. Easy, Tiger. You can apply your “most” assessment (and I assume you made a qualitative, visual assessment of gentrifiers) to DC’s criminal community being black. Then white, Asian, Latinos, etc could sit back and say “see, race plays a role in crime”. It’s a lazy person’s reaction to a complex situation.

  52. “Reverse racism” is not a thing. You are referring to bigotry.

  53. Truxton Thomas

    There are multiple definitions of “racism.” Getting hung up on the overly strict, liberal arts definition to gratify yourself does not advance the discussion.

  54. “Reverse racism” may not be a thing, but this is still racism. The idea that minorities or an oppressed class cannot be racist is wrong (please go look up the definition of racism…I’ll wait).

  55. I never liked the phrase “reverse-racism”. Racism is racism, nothing reverse about it. But back on point, I remembered when I moved into Columbia Heights the 1st day I had some drunken guy with a bottle in his hand midday on Jan 1st greet us by saying, “Welcome to the area you f-ing interlopers” and then threw his bottle down in front of us. You take it with a grain of salt, as long as they aren’t physically getting in your face or threatening to harm you, then you just ignore them as those people are doing this are not worth your attention.

  56. Stick to describing what you personally want as a neighbor. Telling other people what they want as a neighbor doesn’t usually work.

  57. marlene parker

    Black people are angry that white people are moving in and driving up the cost of living. They don’t realize that their property values are going up. Shoot, my mother moved here in 1986 and only paid $80,000 for her house. It is now worth way more.

  58. but with an increase in property value, comes an increase in property tax which is difficult for some to pay…

  59. Having your property values go up is only an advantage if you want to sell your property. If you want to keep your home there may be increases in taxes — including unanticipated things like estate taxes, as well as insurance. As an investment it might be great. For a home, not so great, particularly if you income doesn’t increase along with the value of your home.

  60. Adam S. Morgan

    would most of these long time residence not have a homestead tax abatement? I thought those don’t get effected in the same way

  61. http://www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/washington-lawyer/articles/march-2014-homestead.cfm

    First, it’s apparently not so easy to get all of the deductions that you might be entitled to. Beyond that, if this article is correct, let’s say that the homestead deduction is $70,000. If you bought your house for under $200,000, it’s now valued at $700,000, the taxes are likely to be, well, taxing, to someone with an income that could support owning a $200,000 house — but not one that’s valued at over three times that. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can comment on this. The short version is that rapidly rising housing values without a correspondingly rapid rise in income can be a serious problem, with serious consequences for longtime homeowners.

  62. My senior neighbor pays $600/year in taxes, while we pay $2,000/year. Taxes are everyones responsibility and they pay very little!

  63. Golly, did you know that money isn’t the only thing that matters to some people?

  64. while i excuse none of this old guys actions….
    what you described may look A LOT different from the other side of the fence.

  65. This is just the kind of response that makes this debate so disappointing to see for someone who loves the District so much. People on all “sides of the fence,” however you take that euphemism, should be able to agree that young families with high levels of community engagement and pride in their home are a net gain for any block. If the alternative is keeping Petworth full of angry reverse-racist hecklers like this guy, then well…it’s hard to see what, if anything, is being lost as DC changes.

  66. again
    all you see is “young families with high levels of community engagement and pride in their home are a net gain for any block”
    may look a little different if you are not one of those young famlies

    ALL of these changes have not been good for existing residents

  67. How can you presume to tell someone you don’t know who they want as a neighbor? Maybe a young white family with a friendly dog sounds like the kind of neighbor you’d like, but these guys on the porch obviously feel differently. Which is not to say that expressing their feelings by yelling insults is okay, but thoughts like this (who could object to a young family?) don’t help.

  68. We see what you did there. Derek said “a young family with a friendly dog.” You quote him as saying the neighbors should be happy with “a young white family with a friendly dog.” Subtle.

  69. Are you questioning whether or not the OP is white? It seems pretty obvious from the original post.

  70. Merely pointing out that you purposefully misquoted him, as saying that his neighbors should be happy that a young *white* family had moved in, when he certainly did not.

  71. I was just helpfully adding what he left out of his statement in his effort to block out the undeniable racial elements of gentrification. Quite obviously, the old men on the porch were not incensed about just any young family, they were incensed about a young WHITE family.

  72. Some people hate dogs. Some people hate kids. Maybe this guy hates both?

  73. anon in Brightwood

    I live in Brightwood. My elderly neighbors have anti-gentrification signs in their yard. They are also the nicest, most welcoming neighbors we have on our block. We sit outside and talk whenever the weather is nice. To them, gentrification is a class issue, not a race issue. They see gentrification as pushing out the middle class, not white pushing out blacks. In my honest opinion, I tend to agree, and for this reason, I dislike gentrification too.

  74. So, do they support raising the height limit and other upzoning to provide more units to absorb the demand?

  75. Although many here hadn’t yet been born, remember that it was not too terribly long ago that many neighborhoods had “covenants” that prohibited selling property to black people (and a few other groups that the neighbors didn’t care to mingle with). Although I can’t fault a young white person for not sharing the resentment of seeing a bunch of young, wealthy, seemingly-care-free white people moving into the neighborhood that the crazy guy on the porch made his own back when he literally would not have been allowed to purchase property in much of the city *regardless of his ability to afford it*, I don’t find it too hard to sympathize with the guy.

  76. Restrictive covenants were declared unconstitutional in 1948, so no, the “crazy guy on the porch” did not grow up unable “to purchase property in much of the city.” Your sneering at “a bunch of young, wealthy, seemingly carefree white people” is a nice touch, though.

  77. They were informally enforced long after they were declared unconstitutional.

  78. You’ve never heard of block-busting, have you. But don’t let that stop you from sympathizing with the guy shouting racial epithets at his new neighbors.

  79. It is substantially less likely that this individual or his parents benefitted from blockbusting than that they were excluded by covenants. In any event, I don’t sympathize with his *actions,* but I can imagine why he might feel the way that he does. The point of my post, which I stand by, was to express objection to Derek’s assertion that other people should find certain people desirable to have as neighbors. Telling people how they should feel never works very well.

  80. Not that it matters, but I am an older white guy.

  81. Are you crazy? Fannie Mae had redlining until the 1960s for certain parts of the country. It’s not about neighborhood covenants….it’s all about access to capital. As soon as middle-class blacks were given access to capital, you saw the White Flight.
    Hell, the Community Reinvestment Act wasn’t passed until 1977. By then, the cities had already been ghettoized.
    $$$ is all that matters. African-Americans were robbed of the greatest transfer of inter-generational wealth this world has ever seen.

  82. This +10,000.

    1dc1, for some background reading on how much spacial segregation really does affect a person’s access to education/jobs/public resources, I suggest reading American Apartheid. That book opened my eyes to so many issues I just never even had to think of as a white girl growing up in a small town.

    For more information regarding redlining, try “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

  83. I’m well aware it is/was not about covenants; that was Haile’s claim, which I corrected. Note that redlining does not denote erecting barriers to move into a neighborhood, but rather restricting access to bank loans for home maintenance and improvement and the like.

  84. You are being deliberately dense. There is a fairly obvious point here, and it is bigger than which one of the many racist policies or practices most directly impacted this individual or his family. And depending on his age, the covenants probably impacted his parents directly and thus him indirectly.

  85. And how many Americans (regardless of color) can afford to buy a house without a bank loan? Even if physcial barriers weren’t erected in neighborhoods, redlining effectively kept African Americans out of those neighborhoods. And as Anonymous pointed out above, that has had a huge impact on the growth and transfer of inter-generational wealth. There are lasting ripple effects to those policies that contribute to continued inequity today. Understanding that history is important for context for where we are at as a nation today.

  86. The article by Ta-Nehisi Coates that Artemis mentions is really eye-opening. I knew beforehand about restrictive covenants, but I didn’t realize that black people couldn’t get regular mortgages and were stuck in these high-interest arrangements that were sort of like “rent-to-own” and essentially meant that they had no equity until they made the last payment.
    Some real-estate agents/property owners were basically screwing EVERYONE over — scaring white people into taking below-market prices for their homes (by moving a black family into the neighborhood and telling the white families they needed to sell fast before the values decreased any further), and then “selling” them to black families using these high-interest, no-equity arrangements that resulted in the black families having to vastly overpay over time.

  87. To quote Haile directly: “he literally would not have been allowed to purchase property in much of the city *regardless of his ability to afford it*.” Yet now his claim is that restrictive covenants must have impacted him “indirectly.”
    But I guess pointing that out is simply to be dense. Let’s all go back to trying to sympathize with the supposed plight of a 50-something gentleman who can’t help but spew racial epithets at a man and his pregnant wife walking their dog, shall we.

  88. 1dc1: Ok. Fine. Given his age, he, himself, personally, probably wasn’t affected by the covenants. You won the irrelevant argument about dates of things. Can we move on to stuff that actually matters, now that you proved that you did a better job of memorizing or Googling a f*cking date?

  89. Count Pheasant

    You’re right, you don’t understand.

  90. Say “Can’t we all just get along?” really loudly?

  91. First of all, this is not racism. Bigotry, yes, but not racism. As unpleasant as it may be, an older man shouting profanities from his porch isn’t going to affect your life in any major way (i.e. move to a different neighborhood, get a job, etc), which is what actual racism does.
    As far as what to do? Ignore it. Unless this guy is trespassing on your property or physically threatening you, there isn’t much to do.

  92. This is NOT the definition of racism.

    “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

  93. So, an old drunk white guy yelling at a black couple wouldn’t be racism either because that old drunk guy doesn’t affect their life in a major way? After all, in that situation that guy wouldn’t be able to affect their ability to move to a different neighborhood or get a job.

  94. “First of all, this is not racism. Bigotry, yes, but not racism.”

    So says you. But in the world of common sense, the behavior described by OP is obviously and objectively racist.

  95. Having grown up in dc and being a white dcps student, I have experienced this and much, much worse on a near daily basis. I have found that many blacks are almost rabidly racist against whites.
    Today? I just ignore it unless it seems like a physical confrontation.

  96. Racism requires power. Bigotry, on the other hand, doesn’t.

  97. Baron of Brightwood

    So one is ok and the other isn’t? What is the “power” dynamic here? These sound like excuses.

  98. I didn’t say or imply either was ok; how did you make such a determination?
    Power in the societal sense, obviously….
    What excuse am I making here? Seems like we’re reaching here.

  99. Thank you, Professor Spock.

  100. Racism does not require power.

  101. There are bigger issues here than the terminology. Let’s let this one go.

  102. It sure does. Privilege and power. What happened to the OP kinda stinks but is not racism. Sorry.

  103. While you sit there in your own little world and debate semantics the rest of us will agree the yeller’s behavior was shitty & stupid.

  104. so, when a group of black teens robs a white guy for his phone and says “stupid cracker” and stuff like that, it’s not racism? Because the threat of violence, to me, seems like power. It’s all different types of power, and I do think it’s racism once you make a decision to act on your bigotry. Just a thought (could definitely be wrong, but the fear of violence could be implied in some of the situations discussed here)

  105. Think bigger, in terms of power… on a societal level.

  106. The distinction that you are making is crucial to some sociology professor out there somewhere, but most reasonable people are more interested in having a discussion about behaviors and responses to them than about terminology. Thanks, though.

  107. What you say about the power balance on a societal level is true… but that doesn’t mean that the power balance is the same on a small-scale level, like with a kid getting harassed in school.

  108. ^And it’s still completely false that “power” needs to be in an equation anywhere for racism. It’s so depressing to see people regurgitating this tripe.

  109. If a person is convinced that the definition of a table necessarily includes having four legs, then you will never convince that person that a table supported by a single leg with a wide base is actually table. There is no point in arguing with such people.

  110. This isn’t a meaningless academic distinction. Racism is a huge burden that white people are lucky enough to be able to ignore. We will never improve it if people don’t try to understand why it is special, and why it is different than bigotry. Think about how it applies to the choices everyone has in this situation. First, OP clearly trusts the police. He has reason to, as a white person. A black person would have no authority to turn to that they could trust to protect their rights. OP is more likely to have others call the police if they saw someone attacking him. It is unlikely that he would be falsely blamed as the aggressor in the situation.

  111. This absolutely nonsense peddled by recently indoctrinated college students and social justice zealots. There is zero requirement for ‘power’ for racism. Let’s use real definitions please/

  112. Truxton Thomas

    It’s the equivalent of showing off your university vocabulary to mom between semesters.

  113. Stop it with your desire to sound smart by adopting a single definition of a word, that exists solely in a small academic community, and then incorrectly trying to correct everybody. You are wrong. Check a dictionary, and then turn your focus to the discussion that actually matters.

  114. D.C. includes race-based “verbal abuse” as an example of a hate crime. http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/hate-crimes-faqs

  115. That is incorrect and will be fixed. In order to be a bias motivated crime in the District, an action must first be a crime. Most speech, unless it is directly threatening someone, is not a crime.

  116. throw a bag of burning dog shit at his door? just kidding. don’t do that, or anything else other than keep walking without making eye contact. i love to think we should respond with a wave or a smile, but i wouldn’t even do that. FWIW, i can empathize with your experience, and really apprecatiate that you don’t accept it.

    i was walking my dog one time when my dog stopped to pee. a woman sitting across the street on her stoop, talking on her cell phone yelled, ‘EXCUSE ME, you know you gotta pick that up?’ i said, ‘she peed.’ she ackowledged it and i said, ‘i can’t really pick that up.’ she flipped out and went off on me with, “what the F**K you say to me?!?! you ain’t better talk back to me…you better walk your MFin’ white A** away…keep walkin’…cracker…’ and blah blah some other sh!t. yea for pleasant neighbors. ever since then i’ve saved up my friendliness and kindness for people who deserve it.

  117. I’m not sure what I would do in the same situation described, but if you don’t do “anything else other than keep walking without making eye contact,” then you do accept it.

  118. that was my initial thought, but i think there’s a lot of power and pride in ignoring a person who treats people like that. i won’t take the bait.

  119. Ignore it. I mean, it’s not like anything will change if you go argue with/talk to them, and you weren’t in any danger… it sucks though. I had something similar happen to me on the 54 bus the other day – I sat near an 60-something man (sober, well-dressed) who then started ranting about how DC has changed and not for the better, how you didn’t see any white people here in the 80s, now they’ve taken over and ruined everything, etc. I just put in my headphones and tuned him out – I don’t really care if some random person prefers I and “my kind” lived elsewhere.

  120. marlene parker

    Wow. White people used to say that when black folks started moving in.

  121. I say this as a white person

    Take it as a sociological experiment of what black people experience on a daily basis albeit perhaps not so blatant; you might get a glimpse of understanding of why after one encounter what you are feeling now translates into a lifetime of experiences and leads to the black lives matter movement. At first I was all up in arms, but then I had an ah-ha moment.

  122. So I somehow deserve this because of hundreds of years of institutional racism? Where does it end?

  123. I say this as a white person

    Stop being defensive and reread what I wrote. I didn’t say you deserved it. Not in the least do I believe that. I don’t believe anybody deserves to be treated that way and I’m not downplaying your sense of being wrong. I was just saying take a bad experience and make a silver lining of self edification of oh this is how the world looks from a different perspective. Like I said, I too was originally incensed on your behalf.

  124. Thank you for sharing this!!!!

  125. Treat others as you WISH to be treated. I don’t buy it that anyone at all deserves to be treated this way. And I don’t LOOK ‘white’, so I’ve had racist (and anti-semetic) stuff said to me too many times to count, but I would never use that as an excuse to do the same to another human.

  126. I say this as I white person

    For the love of pete, people. I’m not saying they deserved this treatment. I’m saying NOBODY deserves this treatment and to be cognizant of other perspectives and experiences endured by someone other than yourself and to try to analyze things somewhat from an objective point of view.

  127. Definitely bake a pie and bring it over.

  128. Some might say casual racism is par for the course in a gentrifying neighborhood, but I don’t accept it.”

    Actually, my experience has been that casual — and not so casual — racism is pretty rampant in throughout much of this country. Accepting it –or not — really hasn’t always been an option for all of us. The Emancipation Day celebrations yesterday highlight this.

  129. some of “us” don’t have a history in the US that goes back far enough to make that last part of your point stand.

  130. Jindc, don’t take this situation and discussion so personally. If you are a white person in America, it doesn’t matter if you arrived yesterday or if your relatives were Pilgrims. You have privilege in this country that others don’t have. You are so privileged, in fact, that you don’t even realize it.

  131. so the signs at public pools reading “no jews no dogs” when my parents were growing up were a sign of privilege? Good to know. Lumping “white” together is dangerous. I realize I am lucky because no one knows what I am – people think I’m hispanic, indian, native american, “inter-racial”. So I’ve gotten a variety of racist taunts thrown my way depending on the season. Hence why I don’t think WHITE is the best way to describe anyone. I think it does matter.

  132. I don’t think you should try to play Oppression Olympics here, your people don’t win. They still have privileges a lot of other more visible minorities don’t have.

  133. I say this as a white man with a Jewish wife:
    You got to be kidding me. Every damn immigrant group suffered in this country. Can you say with a straight face that any ethnic has had as bad as the African-Americans in the US?
    As Jews, your parents were at least given the opportunity to buy their home and pass that wealth onto you. They were able to get loans to open small businesses. After a period of struggle, the Jewish people had an easy transition to the middle class in the USA, just like any other “white ethnic” coming to America after the WASPs. By the 1970s, the biggest offense to any of us was that the WASPs wouldn’t let us into their country clubs.
    Please, don’t make the pity party about you.

  134. Blacks didn’t need a sign to know they weren’t welcome at the public pool. Your parents couldn’t swim in a pool, and my grandmother couldn’t buy clothes in large stores w/o a note from her white boss, and she damn sure couldn’t try anything on. Privilege does not mean every aspect of your life or your parents’ lives has to be cherries and cream. Let’s try this: when was the last time a Jewish person was killed by police? Does having an ethnically Jewish name significantly reduce your chances of being hired?
    I know you THINK you have a hard knock life because some things could be better, but I can assure you, things are not that bad for you.

  135. Using generalities and personal experiences to brush off discrimination of an oppressed group is an awful road to go down. Especially at a time when anti-semitism is on the rise. I will never understand the need to rank groups based on level of discrimination and then downplay the experiences of groups with lower rankings.

  136. "Juice" Terry Lawson

    Oh come on. My mother is a born and bred Kerry woman. Her people no doubt experienced “No Irish” signs when they first arrived here. It doesn’t impact me (or her) in the slightest. I believe this verbal attack is racist (not reverse racist) but to suggest white people have suffered in THIS country to the extent that others have is just ludicrous.

  137. Keep walking. However, I had a similar experience – was sitting outside at brunch with my family (SUCH a white activity, as I could tell from all the folks of different colors and shades all around me). An older black man kept walking back and forth singing, “all the racist people…where do they all come from” to the tune of Eleanor Rigby. And then saying ‘white power! white power!’ I couldn’t help but think of what would happen if a white person were doing the same thing.

  138. Absolutely nothing. There is a seemingly white man near mcpherson sq who has said some of the most vile, racist things I’ve heard, and nothing has ever been done to him. Your situation seems mild by comparison.

  139. marlene parker

    Sounds to me like you have a schizophrenic neighbor just like I do. Crazy people like that should be ignored so they won’t hurt you.

  140. While not necessarily appropriate to call the cops for everything, the guys were actually breaking the law. In DC it would be Disorderly Conduct.
    This sort of crap happens to me every few months. Email your district station commander (4th is Wilfredo Manlapaz) and add a comment that you’re not asking for intervention only filing as a record in case the behavior continues. Don’t think of it as tattling or wasting police time, you are not. The guy is desperately asking for attention and obviously has much deeper problems. If you file a complaint he’s more likely to get the help that he needs. Quality of life complaints are a great way for the police to track neighborhood issues and to prevent escalation.

  141. you can be given a disorderly conduct citation when you are on your own property? not trolling, just didnt know.

  142. You can be arrested for disorderly conduct on your own property, but this incident is not likely to rise to the level that would be criminal. In one provision of the relevant statute, it is prohibited to: “Direct abusive or offensive language or gestures at another person (other than a law enforcement officer while acting in his or her official capacity) in a manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation or violence by that person or another person.” (DC Official Code § 22-1321(a)(3)) However the DC Superior Court tends to have a fairly narrow view of this, and in a situation where the OP can just keep walking, they would probably read that as not likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation.

  143. No trolling taken. The DC disorderly Conduct statute is pretty broad and along with disturbing the peace, sort of a catch all. Plus they’re from like 1950 or something. Oddly enough one of the codes is really closes to this situation. DC Code basically has a line saying that you can’t insult, make rude or obscene gustures or comments or observaionts on persons passing by, or in their hearing. It’s mainly about public gatherings, but often being on private property won’t protect you if you’re engaging someone in a public space. Because of the First Amendment it’s often falls to the judge to decide if the statements could be considered “fighting words.”

  144. This was actually the old law. A new statute was enacted and went into effect in 2011. It was rewritten specifically to make it more precise and limit the broad discretion under the old law.

  145. Not intending a flame volley, but I don’t think the 2011 revisions made much of a change at all. It mainly added some minor language about cursing at officers during a demonstration. In this case – a.3. would just have to show that the offensive language was enough to provoke a violent reaction. It’s really left up to the discretion of the police and the judge.
    Much of the publicity surrounding the issue state that changes were being made to make them less broad, but they are still extremely broad. Here’s the code, and actually a great way to search for codes in DC as the cities system is super annoying.
    These peeps did a nice write up on the spirit of the law.

  146. The old law (and probably the new) are incredibly broad. But they are also limited by the Constitution. There is conduct that literally falls under the code language but could not constitutionally be prosecuted. There are many cases to this effect out there both regarding the DC law and similar laws in other states.
    So it’s a little dangerous to read the code and assume that everything that seems covered by its language is actually illegal.

  147. I would absolutely call the cops. It is not too late to file a report. This is harassment and intimidation. It may even be considered hate language. Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? Sorry this happened to you.

  148. given the much more serious crimes that are ignored (i.e., police not dispatched after calling 911, therefore no report), i would be shocked if there were a police response were one to call and report it.

  149. I’ve had the cops stop by after making similar reports. Someone vandalized a couple of flower pots and I used the online police report system, mainly for car break-ins vandalism, destruction of preperty, etc. They came by a week or so later and just said hi. Another time I reported chasing some guy away when I came home and he was peeing on my house. Cops came by a few days later, we laughed. The police actually seem to like meeting the neighborhood and having a presence.
    I’d suggest emailing the police, and then letting it go.

  150. i’m impressed. some neighbors recently had an intruder walk into their house while they were home and when the called 911 they wouldn’t dispatch the police b/c the guy then ran out.

  151. Yea, sometimes I feel like the Police is(are) some sort of 12 headed dragon. Had I called 911 they wouldn’t have been pleased, but my report went to the community/neighborhood liaison officer. I was a neighborhood watch block captain in a much tamer midwester city about 5 years back, so I still have that optimism. Cops there were adamant that tracking these quality of life issues helped them to monitor the neighborhood and understand crime patterns. I just make the report and forget about it.

  152. That’s one choice of action. It may escalate, rather than de-escalate the situation.

  153. If the OP is concerned for his or his wife’s safety, he should absolutely call the police. But in this instance, I don’t believe any crime was committed. DC doesn’t have a general harassment or intimidation statute, and a hate crime has to first and foremost have a criminal act attached to it. There were no threats to do bodily harm and no stalking (which is sometimes called harassment).

  154. In addition to the lack of a crime here, calling the cops on neighbors can start you down a bad road. Even when you are completely right, it’s probably worth thinking long and hard about starting stuff with your neighbors.

  155. Just start loudly making plans for stopping by Whole Foods on your way home from the yoga studio, that will allow you guys to find some common ground

  156. Truxton Thomas

    Haha! Just go with it…

  157. Take a lesson from all the Black folks who’ve had to endure such for, oh, 400 or so years in America: Define and develop your coping mechanisms for such encounters, learn how to deescalate and remove yourself from such situations quickly, and pick and choose the opportunities to be a bada$$ wisely. In this instance, considering you are talking about two presumably spirit-broken middle aged neighbors sitting on porch, I’d say they’re might have been an opportunity to approach them–politely– and say, hey, is it necessary for you to be disrespectful to my wife? Humanize yourself to them. If you come across as a fraidy cat gentrifier just waiting for them to move, I suspect it will keep happening.

  158. I’m black, my wife is white. We’ve had local black people say negative racist things to us here while we were together, and to here when she has been by herself. We’ve also had white people say similar things to us when we travel to other parts of the country, and I’ve had white people say racist things to me when I travel for work to some more rural parts of the country. All I can say is pick your spots. There are times when I confront, and times when I don’t. That said, we’ve managed to reach an understanding, and even become friendly over time with people who were initially hostile to us. Remember, it’s really their problem, not yours.

  159. I’ve had similar experiences multiple times while walking through my neighborhood (Bloomingdale/Eckington). Everything from muttered racist slurs in passing on the sidewalk to full on rants like described by the OP. I also mostly avoid engaging the offender in any way. The comments here that you have to just ‘take it’ and ‘accept it’ are frustrating at best. But I’m at a loss of any other way to handle it myself.

  160. houseintherear

    I live in the same area, and have taken to smiling and saying, “Ok!” and being cheerful. It’s funny how agreeing makes them leave you alone.

  161. Ignore it and move on. You won’t do anything but escalate the situation by engaging. If you call the cops and they know it’s you, you are asking for payback. And I doubt the cops will do anything.”I say this as I white person” has the right idea about using it as an opportunity to look at the world from another point of view.

  162. To those who cannot see any downside to gentrification, or understand why some might object to it, please consider the following:
    Imagine a large number of wealthy Saudi Arabians have been moving into the town or neighborhood where you grew up. They are buying up houses and businesses. Some of your old neighbors and friends have sold, made some money, and moved away. Others are staying put. Many of those who rent are seeing their rents go up, and have to leave. Meanwhile, many of the shops and businesses in the area are either owned by the newcomers, or are catering to their tastes. Grocery stores no longer sell beer or wine, while liquor stores and bars have closed down. All of the new restaurants serve unfamiliar food, and no alcohol. Many of the businesses that you used to patronize, and the friends you used to know, are gone. And they have been replaced by well-meaning, relatively wealthy people whose culture and habits are quite different than yours. Would you say there is no downside to this scenario?

  163. Since I moved around so much growing up, it’s hard to relate to having a home neighborhood. But you counter-example did make me stop and think. It’s really hard to see things objectively sometimes when you’re in the middle of it.

  164. If I could sell my house for 10 times what I paid for it and move away, I’d have ZERO problem with this scenario.

  165. If you could have afforded the rising property taxes as the value increased, you’d have been in fair shape all along.

  166. Goldfish’s hypothetical was more about culture than about $$. In his/her scenario, the neighborhood became a place I didn’t want to live anymore (not a place that I couldn’t afford to live).

  167. Guess what… BOTH are a reality in DC

  168. It was about both $$ and culture, and it is perfectly fair to say that you would not mind if you came out on top financially. I’m sure many feel similarly about the gentrification happening in DC, but I am equally sure that many do object, and for reasons that are quite understandable if you look at them under a different lens.

  169. I guess I don’t feel that while everyone deserves a place they can afford to live, no one should view living in a SPECIFIC place or neighborhood as a right. This isn’t “your” neighborhood, it is a neighborhood that you live in. Others, who may or may not have had the same culture of you, used to live there and the neighborhood is changing. You can either embrace that change (maybe you’d like pho if you gave it a chance? Maybe your neighbors who are of a different cultural background than you are really cool people?) or you can leave.

  170. Everyone has an idea of what they’d like their neighborhood to be like and a right to try to “improve” their neighborhood – whatever that means to them.
    And this isn’t a matter of not liking Pho. How would you feel if all of the restaurants closed in your neighborhood and became 3-star Michelin establishments that you simply cannot afford? That is, functionally, the reality for many long-time residents. I can understand why that would suck.

  171. To hew a little closer to my original analogy than pho, maybe you would like not being able to buy or drink beer, wine, or booze anywhere near your home? Maybe you will get used to this. If not, you can leave. See why this might brew resentment?

  172. I used to live in MoCo, so I’m used to not being able to buy beer/wine at the liquor store. Bazinga!

  173. As an addendum, your entire support network has also left the area. The friends you saw every weekend for a BBQ are now gone. The waitress at the local diner your stopped in every Sunday morning after church. Your barber has disappeared. Your doctor and accountant – the people you trusted with your health and finances – are also gone. The local banker – who gave you a loan would no other traditional bank would consider you – has also left.
    I can totally see why someone would be resentful. Having everyone that mattered to me leave or be dispersed would utterly break my spirit.

  174. Okay, the self-flagellation on this threat is getting absurd, and the Saudi analogy simply does not hold. This is not a story of beloved grocery stores and restaurants being replaced by exclusive venues catering only to the exotic tastes (or perhaps “culture and habits”) of bourgie white people … because there were hardly any real grocery stores or sit-down restaurants before gentrification began!

  175. The rich Saudi newcomers

  176. And the strange white folks, with their taste for exotic things like fresh produce, and deli meats.

  177. Why do you keep posting? You’ve already admitted you don’t live anywhere near here.
    Most of us think you’re a bad parody of a commenter from the The Blaze. You’re not convincing anyone of anything.
    If you want to hear yourself talk, get a therapist (like a normal person).

  178. The rich Saudi newcomers might say the exact same thing about the grocery stores and sit-down restaurants that you and I enjoy now, i.e., dismiss them as not being real stores or real restaurants. I should disregard your whole point, rather than making any meaningful effort to address it, though, because you clearly misused a word in your first sentence, and by the standards that you applied to many other posts above, that must invalidate your entire post.

  179. Are you really that dense that you don’t see any validity to this analogy? There may not have been “real grocery stores” or “sit-down restaurants” in the neighborhood, but there were absolutely businesses and social spaces that catered to the people who lived there. Now, many of these businesses and social spaces have changed or disappeared, and the area no longer feels as familiar or comfortable to some of these long-time residents.. I’m not saying this is objectively a bad thing, nor that something should necessarily be done to stop the process. I’m just pointing out that there are some valid reasons why some people might feel resentment.

  180. I was once called a racist Honkey by my neighbor without even saying a word. Just had to laugh at it because it was just one of those sweet moments I will always cherish!!

    I would say to chalk it up to the same as if you have a demented older relative that spurts out a racist statement every once in awhile.

  181. I’ll try to be more cognizant of how horrible it used to be and how I’m personally disregarding DC history next time I’m verbally assaulted for just walking by.

    This guy can be angry all he wants, but yelling at a passerby just because of how the passerby looks isn’t going to solve his problem.

  182. OP, your flippant responses to anyone who attempts to put this encounter in context don’t indicate to me that you have much intention of being cognizant of history. It sucks that you and your wife were yelled at, it really does. But discussing the roots of that anger is useful and important, so why not do it here on popville?

  183. Honestly, the OP sounds like a bit of a troll. He’s not looking for an honest dialogue, he just wants to have his worldview affirmed. My guess is that 99% of African-American home owners in your neighborhood are embarrassed by this guy.
    Yeah, people say crazy and shitty things to you occasionally on the street. It’s happened to me too here in DC. And probably more often when I lived in NYC. And guess what? Smartly dressed, upper middle class African-Americans get hassled on the street by other African-Americans. Dealing with a slice of crazy is part of city living. Let it go, OP.

  184. “This guy” = the bigot on the stoop

  185. Yeah. reading the comments makes me doubt somewhat the sincerity of his question to popville.

  186. I don’t think confrontation is a good idea, especially if there’s possible mental illness involved. And confronting someone who’s intoxicated isn’t a good idea either.
    It’s quite possible that he was voicing his actual opinion about racial demographics in Petworth… but something about the way he said what he said makes me wonder if he’s the kind of person who has a bone to pick with everyone about everything, and if he might be incoherently haranguing the next person with “STUPID-A$$ JEANS-WEARING MFer! WALKING ON THE SIDEWALK, CARRYING YOUR CVS BAG, ALL UP IN HERE WITH YOUR SHOPPING!”
    What happened to you is upsetting. I’d try to find out from your neighbors if they’re familiar with this guy and if he’s always like this… but I think the best and safest response is 1) to ignore the guy and 2) to make your best effort to be a good neighbor in general — not to this guy in particular, but to people you pass on the sidewalk, people you see on their porches, and so on. PoP’s “Tips for Newcomers” list is worth revisiting, whether you’re a newcomer or not.

  187. Thanks, these are good tips. I practice some of these, but could definitely do better. The majority of my neighbors are friendly, but when something like this happens it tends to overshadow the good.


  189. This guy was probably both really drunk and really crazy. I would NOT engage with him.
    Side note – these posts always get more comments than any others. This is sad. How about we figure out how to engage and live with all of the GOOD people who are different from us? They make up the vast majority in this city. Is Porch Guy actually a bigot? Absolutely. So are a some white people. So are some people of ANY color. When we fixate on these people, though, our entire outlook on race relations can be poisoned.

  190. +1. The real issue isn’t how to deal with Porch Guy (as upsetting as an incident like that may be) — it’s how to interact with the REST of your neighbors.

  191. I’m sure the experience was disconcerting, but I’d chalk it up to someone who is drunk/high/ill and move on. And remember that most people are not like him. Petworth is a very friendly place – people say hello to each other on the street and from their porches, etc. (In fact, I’ve found that the people who don’t say hello, and come off as aloof, are almost always the youngish-white-probable-newcomer.)
    The only time I experienced treatment similar to the OP was when I attended an MPD meeting on violence in the neighborhood 3-4 years ago. A black woman who grew up in the neighborhood was mad that a bunch of white newcomers would want to have a say in how the community is policed. It was somewhat ironic because we were all advocating the same point – that MPD needed to do a better job about curbing the violence in the area. But, I’m sure that changing demographics can be offputting to people who have spent their whole lives here. But, that experience was the exception, not the rule.

  192. +1 to “In fact, I’ve found that the people who don’t say hello, and come off as aloof, are almost always the youngish-white-probable-newcomer.” I say hello to anyone I know to be or think might be a neighbor. I find it a little frustrating that the people who don’t respond are almost always white. (I too am white.)

  193. Agreed. Sometimes I wonder if it has something to do with the city-suburb disconnect. As a white person raised in a suburb, I was just not USED to walking around and engaging with strangers until I moved here. I’m a lot better about it now, but sometimes it still feels kind of weird (especially if the other person is male since I’m always worried about unwanted attention if I engage).

  194. Yeah, I think it’s a cultural thing. And when I lived in Adams Morgan, I certainly didn’t say hi to every random person I saw on Columbia Road; it was a bustling, impersonal environment. But when I moved to Park View, I didn’t want to be perceived as a snooty interloper, so I had to fight my natural tendency to be shy and instead greet people.

  195. The amount of foot traffic definitely plays a part. It would be insane for me to say hi to everyone I see in my neighborhood (Adams Morgan). I do say hi to the folks I see regularly.

  196. seems like a legit reason to yell at strangers

  197. I know, right? Also love how “lifers” such as the above, who were part of the city when it descended into crime-infested chaos in the 1980s and 1990s, are now taking credit for its revival! (and at the same time resenting the gentrifiers and their local investment, which is what is actually reviving the city)!

  198. So you want a cookie for being white and deigning the District with your presence?
    OK, buddy.

  199. I’ll give you a cookie if you can correctly use “deign” in a sentence. And I don’t live in DC, although I spend a lot of money in it. (Finally, how do you know I’m white?)

  200. I want ALL the cookies! And I want to eat them at my new dog park with my $7 coffee ;)

  201. houseintherear

    Last week, my friend and I were waiting for the bus in Georgetown and were approached by a man who called us “Jews” and had lots of mean things to say. My friend said, “Actually I worship satan,” and we both stared at him with a villain stare. He then stumbled away, and soon after almost got hit by a bus, which he then called a “stupid Jew.” (thumbs up)

  202. This is making me chortle at my desk. The snappy comeback, the stupid jewish bus…

  203. maybe it was a Vamoose bus… you don’t know.

  204. This happened to my husband, who is not American. He came home and asked me if “Cracker” had any other meanings in America.

  205. I’m white, but I’ve been thinking a lot about white privilege since the police shootings of Ferguson, etc., have revived the debate. I’ve tried to be as aware of how privileged I have been in life because of the color of my skin in order to keep things in perspective how well I have it as a white male.

    When I see a question like this from a white male I have to chuckle a bit when they imply the drunk on the steps is “racist.” Sure, I empathize with the uncomfortable feeling of being treated like an outsider in one’s own neighborhood, but to treat this incident like its some kind of civil rights violation is a bit absurd. We white men have things better than anyone in this country. This is nothing more than rude neighbors to ignore like any others. And nothing like if white people hollered down at black people, considering the brutal history in this country. (shame on the people comparing it)

    To answer your question directly, just ignore them and keep walking, remembering how good you have it regardless of neighborhood jerks. Instead of calling the cops, think about doing something for the greater good to help make race relations in DC better through social and charity work. Showing your commitment to the community by further engaging with it is a better way to overcome these things while also working toward the greater good and the “arc of justice” mentioned above.

  206. Civil rights are for everyone my friend

  207. You think OP’s “civil rights” were violated because he was yelled at by a crazy person? Give me a break.

  208. Count Pheasant


  209. Call the police and file a complaint. It’s UNACCEPTABLE! And I’m not even white.

  210. Thank you Shay! This is the bottom line and you are aboslutely right. No excuses for such behavior. Ignore them, but call the police.

    I hope the couple to whom this happened and others of any race are comforted by the many people here who are sympathetic over the incident. I must really shake up a person of any background to hear such things based on what they look like.

  211. Just like the DC lifers who act like DC’s history began in the 1950s, ignoring the history of all the groups that came before them.

  212. For what little it’s worth, even as a white person I think that most of this is totally on point (even though I can’t really understand it since I haven’t been there). But anger and bitterness isn’t going to move anyone forward; it just pushes people further apart.
    I don’t know what the solution is, but most of the white people I know want diversity and better race relations. They want their children to go to integrated schools. When I go to development meetings in my neighborhood, people of every color express universal support for affordable housing (the developers, on the other hand…) and other measures to address the black-white achievement gap born of centuries of discrimination. Unfortunately, most of us grew up in segregated environments too and are just really clueless about how to be part of the solution.

  213. Please contact me…. there is a house around this block that is under investigation. I’ve been in contact with the MPD, OAG & the landlord (if it’s the same house). I’m 100% sure the investigators would want to hear from the victims. In the mean time I will fwd this post to them so they know what is going on over there. But seriously contact me via email or phone if you want to get the details. You can find my contact info at any of my sites. Just Google Ryan T DaSilva real estate or go to my site ryantdasilva. Com

  214. Ryan, I live near the location . . . recommend being a little more specific. I can think of at least three houses with similar, sh*tbird tenants who would say something like the above.

  215. Yeah there are. I think two of them were having a feud when I walked by the other day with at least 30 people in the middle of the street screaming at each other.

  216. Reading a bunch of these comments, it looks like a lot of people are actually blaming the poor OP who was verbally abused because he/she is part of the gentrification of the neighborhood and saying that, well basically, he/she asked for it by moving there.
    Are you guys serious????

    Let’s freeze DC’s neighborhoods as they were in 1992, let’s not allow any transfer from, say Georgetown to Shaw if you are white because no, that’s the the way it was in 1992. Maybe we can put up fences too, just to be sure…

  217. I haven’t seen anyone blaming the OP, just people observing that a little understanding of economics and history can add a bit of context to the situation.

  218. Oh come on, you’re the prime suspect for beating up on the victim. All you’re adding is rationalizations for bigotry and evil.

  219. Nobody beat up on the victim until he started flippantly dismissing all attempts at turning his experience into a larger discussion of race and gentrification. What is the point of this comment section, for everyone to just say “oh, so sorry that happened to you” and move on? This is complicated stuff. There is certainly bigotry, and maybe even a degree of evil, in the original story, but that is not all. So why can’t we talk about this?

  220. Because it is NEVER ok for anyone of any race to spew threatening, vicious, hate-filled comments at a random innocent passerby because of their race. Why is this so hard for you to understand? A discussion about the larger issue is fine, but it shoudl be prefaced with the above which should be stated, affirmed, and repeated FIRST. Stop making excuses for vicious behavior. It has no place. PERIOD.

  221. https://www.popville.com/2015/04/white-a-cracker-mfer-walkin-his-mfing-dog-all-pregnant-on-the-sidewalk-like-a-white-a-cracker/#comment-948422

    This is you and your justifications. You’re probably the type who gets upset when you see gay people and moan about them shoving things down your throat while you stroke out in church.

  222. You are not blaming OP but most are making excuses for the neighbor who yelled those ugly things. Seriously people? Such hateful and threatening language is unacceptable period.

  223. Not blaming the OP at all. By all means, call the cops. This might even be considered a hate crime.
    But forwarding the story to PoP in an attempt to draw LOTS of people’s attention to it seems pretty silly and pointless. And almost as if it’s designed to encourage confirmation bias among the subset of people who think that black-on-white discrimination in this city is a real and pervasive problem. It isn’t.

  224. I don’t think forwarding it to PoPville was necessarily a bad idea… but the OP hasn’t really been doing himself any favors with his subsequent posts.

  225. In your best Judy Garland voice, giggle, blow them a kiss, and say, “I, I … I think you’re just divine.”

  226. And wake up in the hospital, or never again. Idiot.

  227. I have little to add to what other commenters have already said about privilege, race relations, gentrification, etc. I only wanted to say that if you were to add or substitute in the word B*TCH in this guy’s rants, with or without the references to race, you get the street harassment that women face every day. Take it from me (and the army of other strong women out there) do not engage, do not engage, do not engage! Nothing good will come of it. Walk away, vent to your besties over a caramel latte with cream, and shake it off to some TSwift later. (<–kidding.) You are never going to change the mind of someone who hurls such hate at you without knowing you, so just be the best person and neighbor you can be and hope to change minds by the way you live and who you are.

  228. Yeah, I hate that I missed this conversation and all the silly excuses and semantic debates, but most importantly, just ignore it and move on man. Remember that old school yard song “sticks and stones…”.

  229. These guys don’t say sh*t like the above to me, but I’m over six feet tall, weigh more than 200 lbs, and wear wrap-around sunglasses and a camo boonie hat around the hood.

  230. I reject the idea that there’s anything “casual” about overt racism and public yelling of racial epithets. Yet, as a white resident of DC, this happens to me all the time as well. Not just from seemingly drunk/mentally ill/homeless individuals (as some here are downplaying this issue). By well-dressed individuals in new vehicles presumably commuting to work, who routinely escalate minor traffic confrontations by threatening to ‘stab my cracker ass’. And of course there’s the violent hate-speech group left completely unchecked and unanswered at Gallery Place & Columbia Heights metros. Turn the tables: If they were the KKK, you think this entire city and its police would keep looking the other way?

  231. ...but, but, but capitalism ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I heard that this thread was in need of a blanket, all-encompassing, irrefutable excuse.
    Did I come to the right place?

  232. get a bigger, meaner dog.

  233. I am constantly amazed at the lack of street smarts displayed on this board. What should you do? Keep walking and get your pregnant wife as far away as possible from the deranged racist screaming nonsense, and in six months when you see that his house has been flipped, look at that beige brick and red (or blue) door and quietly chuckle to yourself.

  234. +1! Correct!

  235. This happened to me in my neighborhood (nearish 12th and D NE, north Cap Hill) walking my dog, and an approx. mid-30-ish African American male SPIT at my feet and said, “stupid white-ass bitch.” Why? Who knows. But I was definitely worried — mostly about my dog. He was ANGRY. I wish I had answers for you; DC can be a very, very dark place. My hatred for the city grows by the day (and I’ve lived here for almost 20 years).

  236. I’ve never been berated by people sitting in their porches. It might be dumb luck, but I think that the fact that I make eye contact, acknowledge their existence, and wish them a good day probably helps.

  237. I'm sorry. What?!

    First off, let me start by saying that a Black person could not be racist toward a white person. Yes, his unkind words were PREJUDICE, but, ask yourself this: Was his judgment incorrect/ farfetched? The first thing you asked was should you call the police. For what? Because you were offended? I somewhat mirror the presumably drunken man’s sentiment. Call the cops on me. (Nevermind. My degrees, income or address wont save me from the cops.)

    To answer your original question, try this: please listen to yourself, evaluate your complaints and get hip. You dismissed this incident as casual racism. This man is angry. Was he an ass about it? Absolutely lol.

    Peace…sorry you were verbally attacked. But I am envious (on behalf of my race) that verbal attacks are the least of your worries.

  238. Worst Comment Ever

    In a threat full of jaw-droppingly stupid comments, yours wins because it combines the inane freshman-level semantics debate over the meaning “racism” plus expressed agreement with a drunken idiot. Get “hip,” indeed.

  239. This isn’t racism–it might be rude and not very cool, but what racism would look like is if whites were systematically oppressed. In that society, you’d probably be less afraid of him hurting your feelings and more afraid of him shooting you and getting off without any penalties because his fear of your skin color is considered a legitimate defense in the MFing “justice system.” Again, not saying he seems like someone I’d want to stop and have a conversation with, but throwing around the word racism as if this is equal to the weight of historical and daily oppression that black people face is definitely not what I would suggest.

  240. Accept that the white guy and gal, dog and fetus are on the privileged winning side of gentrification and the angry black guy is shouting at his impotence to do anything about it. So just shut up. There is nothing to dialogue. Those who commented that the guy is mentally ill is being more than disdainful and patronizing, it’s racist stereotyping. He’s not crazy, he’s angry and frustrated. He may not be articulate enough to rant on a blog to be read hunched over an illuminated slab, but he can certainly share his feelings from his front porch, like we all used to do as neighbors. I’ve lived most of my six decades in black communities. In the past no one would dare let Mr. Charlie know what you were really thinking, but the rules are changed, especially if you and your neighbors are threatened with imminent displacement. What you used to share with only your own people, you now articulate publicly. He’s talking straight talk about a real issue, not the senseless, loud, drunken prattle I hear screamed past my house each night from millenials leaving Dacha.

  241. Then I’ll start speaking my mind too — out lout and in public and you’re just going to have to deal with it like you are imposing on the other side to do. Change works both ways pal. How much you wanna bet when that happens you start screaming racism. You’re a post child for double standard. With people like you around no good change will ever happen.

  242. Are you the same RayM who continually complains about, well, seemingly everything on the Shaw Listserv?

  243. Sigh. Just keep walking. This has happened to me dozens of times in 20 years. Mostly on Metro, and 95% it middle aged
    afam who appear off meds or need to be on them. I’m disappointed they didn’t throw out “white devil.” I have a um, Aryan, look that brings out the crazies. My favorite was “white devil German Nazi white supremacist thug!.” Not quite a 10, but that gets a solid 9.

  244. Riggs Park Person

    This thread depresses me.

  245. This is a very dc thing. Happens to me less than it did 5 or 10 years ago. I love DC and have lived here most of my life but this sort of racist stuff has always made me uncomfortable. This has happened often to me in DC – but never n other cities and I do travel afair amount. Mor often I have had this problem with older teenagers. I also would encounter kids that would motion as if they are going to knock me off my bike or skates while they mumble similar things. It used to be much worse.

  246. Should you have called the cops…??? Seriously?That mentality is exactly that of George Zimmerman…that is how people end up being criminalized and shot by police or neighborhood watches (you in this case). Get ove it and move on…dare i say…Cracker. you have some deeply white-normative and supremacist issues to untangle. Imagine if a black person called the cops everyone a white person called them a thug or ‘N’ word…it would overload the 911 system.

  247. Report it as a hate crime/intimidating or threatening speech.


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