I think this is worth sharing with everyone. This is from Susan Mann, who is a preschool teacher in Camden:
I learned the same things about black males at work. I just ignore the defiant look and talk to them anyway. I also approached some tough looking black kids on a trip with Mike one time to ask directions. They stared at me, then when I repeated myself they dropped the look and helped me out. People respond to kindness.
Black men of my age were taught NEVER to look a white woman in the eye. If an older black man doesn’t look at you, he’s protecting himself, not being rude.
I hear black mothers worrying about their sons every day. Our inservice workshops often deal with cultural differences as we have all races working in the city. The most memorable was a checklist of what you need to know in lower, middle, and upper classes to survive. When they asked who could do every thing in the middle class list I was one of 7 people in a full auditorium that raised my hand, assuming we all would. It included things like getting piano lessons for your child. I could only do one thing in the upper class list (I have no idea how to hire a staff of servants and direct them, for example.) It is almost morally wrong to have a savings account in the lowest classes as you give all you have left over to help someone else survive. You may be the next one with no food. I learned a lot about generosity in Camden.
The picture in the Inquirer of Trayvon Martin with white skin and George Zimmerman with black skin was the most helpful to me in understanding how blacks feel about the situation.