A buddy of mine is a real estate agent in Washington, DC – a city with a very large African American population. He’s a great guy – kind, funny, and intelligent. He also happens to be gay.
He’s lived in DC since 1980 an in this story, he recounts the incidents of racism, hate, homophobia, and misogyny he encountered as a realtor. It is notable that Bruce doesn’t bitch, moan, or complain about his treatment. He doesn’t engage in infantile sniveling about the hate speech directed at him. He doesn’t make demands for resignations, start a movement to muzzle the haters, or demand safe spaces to shield him from meanies.
He simply lives his life.
While showing condos to two (white) women, a prospective buyer and her friend, all of us bundled up in down jackets and hats and scarves, five tall black male teens, on holiday from school (Martin Luther King Day) begin to follow us down Columbia Road in Adams Morgan, a hipsterish DC neighborhood, shouting questions at us: Do we like to party? Can they come into the building with us? Do we like black cock? I am hunched over a lockbox attempting to retrieve keys to a condo so we can get off the street. My client, a woman built like a line backer, is shouting at the boys asking if their mothers know how they behave. When I stand up the teens realize I am male, and are momentarily thrown. But after a few seconds start up again with the same questions.While showing houses in Petworth, a gentrifying DC neighborhood, once a slum but now full of $300,000 one bedrooms, to an interracial lesbian couple (white and Asian) and one gal’s parents, several African American high school age boys and girls shout at us and tell us one day we will be their slaves. (Someone taught them this.)While walking to school in the 1990s, unable to afford a bus, a large black man who asked for change every day, takes offense that I ignore his daily request, and screams at me “You must not like black people!”While walking on M Street in Georgetown, a small, very bundled up and androgynous black pan handler, of unidentifiable gender, becomes hostile when I give no response to a request for change. She (?) screams at me something about killing faggots.