Every year, all the women in my family make an annual ‘Girl’s Trip.’ It is a time for women to bond, gain wisdom and knowledge from each other, and get a break from our everyday lives. This year, we decided to rent a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Georgia. It was gorgeous! We enjoyed trout fishing on the creek in the back, hiking, lots of home cooked meals, and a bit of shopping. We saw a flyer for a BBQ and Rib Festival in the downtown area, so naturally we decided to enjoy the beautiful weather and go. I do not eat red meat, but I was down for the live music and fresh squeezed lemonade!
Let me just say that Blue Ridge, Georgia is real – hmmm how do I put this? Country? Typical ‘Good ‘Ole Boy,’ white America type vibe. And still, the quaint little town is in the mountains and breathtaking.
Anyway. . . Walking around and enjoying the live Blues music, sweet tea, and food vendors at the festival, we saw a few looks, but just like most areas in the Southern United States, people smile and nod as a gesture of being polite.
As my cousin was standing in line to get some Italian ice, she was approached by an old(er), white man. Tall, leathery skin, and teeth stained with coffee and ‘snuff.’ He very politely looked her in the face, with a half smile, head turned to the side, and said, “What are you gals doing way up here? This is CraKKKa country!” I have never in my life heard a White person refer to himself as a ‘cracka,’ so I am sure he meant what he said. My cousin engaged in a brief conversation, with the man concluding at the end to “be careful out here. . .” as they went their separate ways.
Was I upset? No. Was I scared? Not at all. Was I disappointed? Absolutely. However, the dialogue went, I cannot say that this particular interaction was shocking or surprising. Let me just say that EVERYONE else we met in the town was so thoroughly warm and welcoming, so this ‘incident’ is in no way a reflection of the people of Blue Ridge. However, this is America. A snapshot into something that many Black Americans deals with consistently.
As we have all heard the stories about the annihilation of Black men and women all over the United States, I cannot help but wonder why is it that, when I travel internationally, I am treated and greeted with seemingly more respect than in my home country? To even have to pose and analyze this question, is in itself, a shame.
To those of you who send me emails every week explaining how ‘nervous’ you are about traveling abroad – please do not limit yourself or your experiences. This world is huge and full of amazing people who want to know and learn from you.
Have you experienced anything like this while traveling domestically?