I’m a white, middle class, Christian woman living in the United States. I’ve never really been part of a group that has beendiscriminated against before. I mean, I had my fair share of getting picked on as a kid, but as an adult I’ve never really been singled out by people who don’t know me. Until last night.
I was driving my daughter to her piano lesson when it first happened. Someone came up behind me with their car and began flashing their headlights and tailgating and hanging back repeatedly. I had no idea why. I checked my speed. I checked my lights. Everything was operating normally. I was in the right lane of a two lane road and there was plenty of room to go around me. What the heck was happening? Eventually the car did speed past. All I noticed about it was that there were political bumper stickers supporting the candidate that my bumper sticker showed I didn’t support. It was weird. I was still concerned about my car so while Daughrer was in her lesson I checked it. Nothing was leaking, gas tank closed, situation normal.
Driving home from the lesson it was much darker, and the same thing happened only more aggressively than before. Lots of flashing of high beams and the tailgating was prolonged. This time when he other car finally decided to speed around me I hung back. I had kept Daughter from noticing up until now and I didn’t want her to see if there was a rude gesture or shouting. Again, the car that went around me was covered in stickers opposing mine. That was the only thing I could think of which could have incited this behavior.
For the first time in my life I think I had a glimpse into the life of victims of discrimination. It was frightening. All I wanted in each of those moments was to keep Daughter safe. I wondered if I had done something wrong. I wished I could hide. Just be quieter. Just be invisible.
Is this what it’s like for my friends? I became genuinely afraid in that moment. I know that this behavior represents a small percentage of Americans, but that percentage is enough. And if a white, middle class, Christian woman isn’t safe, who is?