The Moped

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by Casey Merie
special to The Dreher Report

Casey Merie reflects on a casual afternoon experience in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 3.49.33 PMWhile walking with my Rocky, my 65 pound pit bull the other day, I stopped on the corner of Oak and Glenwood to allow a man on a moped to keep going after I saw he had his turn signal on; but for some odd reason, he just sat there, staring at me. I again motioned for him to go. Eventually, after a weird amount of time, instead of turning he continued straight instead, and then yelled “Fucking n*gger”. This made me wonder if he was planning to try to run me over.

It was a bizarre and scary moment for me because it happened so quickly. Usually on my walk, I encounter people on foot, and nobody on foot messes with you when you are walking a 65 pound pit bull.

I reflected on this casual afternoon.  Just who is this grungy guy zipping around on a moped? I sensed he was the type of man President Lyndon B. Johnson referred to as “the lowest white man” (probably around the time LBJ was busy calling us n*ggers too). He’s too old to be riding it for fun, I thought. Maybe he has a Johnny Reb flag hanging on his wall at home. If he voted in the last general election, it was probably for Trump. Maybe he would have hurt me, if something hadn’t told me to stay put until he passed me. He called me a n*gger.

This is the practice of white supremacy that we all know to be disgusted about.
It’s direct.
It’s abrasive.
It’s to the point.

It’s the other kind of practice of white supremacy, however, that is really scary to me right now. It’s the kind that is pervasive. Even as the tide of popular opinion turns, and people are coming out to condemn the killing of George Floyd, we still have not developed enough political power to hold the police accountable and make them face consequences regularly when they kill us.

It’s the kind of white supremacy that makes people look at our City Council’s decision to fight tooth and nail to dodge accountability for the murder of Marcus Deon Smith by the [Greensboro, North Carolina] police in 2018, and when reasonable people defend limited public resources. Smith was choked in the street by police officers who used a RIPP Hobble device–a restraint the equivalent of being hooked and hogtied. 

I am scared of the white supremacy that confuses far too many of us into thinking that representation is power.

It’s the type of white supremacy that makes it “reasonable” that when an unarmed Black man is murdered after begging for his life, “protecting the public” means saving a budget from having to shell out money to pay restitution to his family.

I am scared, too. I am scared of the white supremacy that has taken hold in so many minds–liberal and conservative–that says Black people cannot get justice if it costs money.

I am scared of the white supremacy that confuses far too many of us into thinking that representation is power. People applaud, for instance, our Black police chief who, I believe, uses his Blackness as a shield to sidestep dialogues on law enforcement oversight and police accountability in Smith’s death.

I am scared of what this will mean for the safety of the protestors on the highway who, in their righteous anger, are sick of this …

… because if the man who called me a n*gger on his moped had been a cop and had decided to escalate this situation, I know I would have gotten no justice from this city.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 3.49.33 PMCasey Merie lives in the Glenwood neighborhood of Greensboro with her husband and dog. She has organized around food, immigration, policing, and against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. With roots in New York, South Carolina, Tortola, and Virginia, she made Greensboro her home in 2006. She graduated from Guilford College (BA, Sociology & Anthropology) and UNC-Greensboro (Masters in Public Health). She is the Development Manager at People’s Action, a national network of community organizations.

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1 Comment

  1. Nelda Canada

     /  June 3, 2020

    Yes, it’s “the other kind” that we live with and even attempt to “change” into a more palatable (non-threatening) presentation ..always to our own detriment. Thank you for making my thoughts plain.

    Reply

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