I know what I am about to say is not the same as living a life as a non-white but it’s an observation I want to make nonetheless. Perhaps it is because I have the thrifter gene or maybe it is because I was raised in a city where taking public transportation is a given. My parents expected me to get myself home from cross country and track practice and so I spent many an afternoon waiting for the bus. So when I move to Winston, I was disappointed in the lack of city transport but pleasantly surprised to discover how wonderful the public transport between the traid is. I can get to the airport over 30 miles away for $1.20-how great is that?!
When I go to the transportation center though I am overly aware of the color of my skin for the only time in my life (besides while in Panama maybe). I am always one of five or less white people at the bus station and everytine I am here I reflect on this not only because it’s the one time I ever feel slightly out of place but because whenever I mentioned to my friends at school that I utilize the public transport in and around Winston I get told “be careful down there by yourself!” and apprehensive looks paired with ” it’s not safe-you shouldn’t do that.” I always roll my eyes and respond with my long history of solo travel and city life but the more I think about it the more I think it has to do with race. My mainly white friends from school don’t do what I do because downtown Winston has long been labeled as an unsafe area of town because of the color of the skin of the people who utilize the area. I’m sorry but how insanely stupid is that? I know to be careful but to be careful because of fear of people who look different than me? Please. Perhaps I am naive to think all people are good until they prove to be bad. I would be lying if I said I have never felt uncomfortable downtown but I’m not going to let racism install fear into me. I like being independent. I am proud of all the travel I have done alone and it saddens me to think perhaps my peers are subconsciously or consciously letting race stop them from owning the sense of pride I get whenever I do something new alone.