Hi Lauri. Thank you for the note (not the insults). I appreciate the time and thought you put into it. I mean that.
You say "I didn't learn anything about Susan, just about you." If that is the case, then I truly missed my mark.
After The Cut article (New York Magazine), we all knew a lot about the Hayat family. I am impressed with what we know. I know the reporter did due diligence and said Susan did not respond to requests for comment.
I wanted to add details about her. I believe she is not a one-sided image, a wash of White.
In the story:
I never said she was my "friend," though people say I did.
I never used the word "nice," though people say I did.
I did say that when she turned my bike upside-down on Valley Road and fixed it, I thought to myself, "What a good neighbor."
I knew the schoolbus was barreling toward my corner, a 20-minute walk (but quicker bike ride) down the road. In our school district, and I guess others, the busdriver will not let your elementary-school child off the bus unless a pre-identified adult is there. So yes, I was grateful to make it there on time.
"And despite being told, DESPITE joining marches where you should have gotten some kind of education, you still have NO IDEA."
I take issue with that. I don't think you should assume things about me based on the color of my skin.
I marched next to a young Black man who held a sign saying something like 'IF I GO TO THE CONVENIENCE STORE, WILL YOU SHOOT ME?'
I talked to that young man...knew what he meant....He smiled and said thanks. I know Black parents are in fear when their young kids go out wearing hoodies. I know I will never fully understand that deep fear. I know they worry about their teens going to convenience stores for a pack of gum.
I don't think our conversation, or racial equity goals, can advance in the right direction if we hate on each other.
In terms of your comment about keeping "the "wrong sort" out of your neighborhoods by enforcing an aesthetic on others in your "picture-perfect suburb" as "historically a thing," you give me pause. I don't know. Maybe it is deeply ingrained in White people. Maybe it is, and White people like me have to face that.
I was trying to show that I too have been subjected to neighbors' desires, and it had nothing to do with the color of their skin or mine (both White).
Thank you again for pushing me to think--as has my dearest friend in town (who is not mentioned in the story); my young adult daughter; and my niece, in response to my piece.