The only time I've ever been in east LA was once when I was driving a car
and took the wrong exit off the freeway. I felt very uncomfortable and got
out of there as quickly as I could.
I've had a bad experience in a neighborhood where I was the only white
person around, but let me tell you about a good one:
I was riding my bicycle in Austin, Texas (which is very different from LA,
although I understand from the kids I knew who were in the Latin Kings gang
that Austin was inheriting quite a few gang types from LA) one afternoon and
after taking a wrong turn found myself in a neighborhood where I was the
only white person--it was a public housing project. I felt uncomfortable
being there, so I turned around to backtrack and try to get back where I
wanted to be. My attention was distracted by a building whose entire north
wall was covered with a colorful mural, so I didn't notice a speed bump in
the road until I'd hit it. I was going pretty fast, and I was on a racing
bike, which was kinda squirrely if you didn't stay on top of it. I flew off
the bike and landed with my back just the wrong way across the curb. I
couldn't get up. It was the weirdest feeling to not be able to make my body
work! So I was thinking, "Oh, great. I'm now at the mercy of these black
people who probably hate whites."
But what happened was this: The people started coming out of their
apartments to help me. One brought an umbrella and held it over my head to
keep the sun out of my face. Another brought a pillow to put under my head.
Another picked up my bike and gently leaned it against a tree. Another one
brought a damp towel to wipe the ants off my legs (to compound my woes, I'd
landed next to an ant bed). Another went to call an ambulance after telling
the others that they shouldn't try to move me. They couldn't have been
kinder to someone who was one of their own. It was one of the most touching
things I've ever experienced. Really, it was almost worth having a broken
back and pelvis just to experience such kindness from strangers.
When the ambulance arrived, the EMS people were rude to my newly found
friends and told them to get out of the way. I could understand that they
had to do their job, but I felt terrible that they were being so rude to
these people who'd helped me so much.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of phil osborn
> You've been very lucky. Not that I don't try the same sort of
> thing when I
> have the time, but there have been times when I was definitely in real
> physical danger.
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