Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach San Francisco

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It occurs to me that people who come across this chronicle, journal or blog, may not completely get the gist of the entries.  That there needs to be more context to some of the phrases I use, like the "black/white dance."   To remedy this, let me set the stage.  These entries were inspired by an essay I coined titled Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach San Francisco just after an incident a few blocks from my home went viral.  People may recall that a privileged neighbor called the police on an 8 -year old child selling bottled water outside the Giants' stadium.   In the essay, I liken the race based, negative encounters I deal with to the outright and legal discriminatory dance my parents were forced to dance during their years living in the segregated, Jim Crow South.


In addition, I borrowed from two black female writers, Eva Paterson and Claudia Rankine.  Reviewing Eva's "This Week in White Supremacy" and Claudia's courage to detail the multiple debasing and injurious assaults of racial discrimination she lives through on a daily basis in "Citizen:  An American Lyric" gave me courage to write my own testimony of the same.   

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 1 - December 2 - 8, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the musical Hamilton Tuesday night at the Orpheum Theater here in San Francisco.  The set designs and music were phenomenal! The choreography grand!  Each player’s steps were timed perfectly with a rotating platform to simulate motion on a static stage.

The next morning, around seven, I witnessed a comparable choreographed play as I walked the four short blocks to catch an uptown train, and there they were, at the corner, timed perfectly with my steps as if enveloped into my dance.  I've witnessed this dancer's steps many times before, the hysterical hipster with hound of the #GentrifyingGeorge type!  They moved in concert with my black/white dance to the corner, in tandem with my move to the identical spot. 

Were they reminding me that I was breaking the rules of the black/white dance in the "hood?"  Were they transporting me back in time to a historical place in the social construct of race?  Transporting me to the path of my ancestor, Harriet Tubman, chased by hounds on the Underground Railroad?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

I rode home on my bike and was greeted around three in the afternoon with a parade of neighbors, lining the street.  Were they there to welcome me home or check my dance moves in the black/white play?  Still on my bike and Just a few feet from my front door, a SUV backed out, rapidly in reverse, in front of me, nearly running over me.  Again had I missed a step in the dance?  Did I commit a party foul in this Jim Crow dance?

Friday, December 6, 2019
Mob Hysteria danced with me today at my front door.  We locked steps as my taxi drove up.  One actor in the routine feigned snapping images of the stunning Bay Bridge.  I yielded to this performer and they exited stage left, their dance number complete.  Then, as if scripted, a second dancer in the black/white play rode up on a bike costumed as a delivery person, calling for others to join the black/white dance in my building's lobby.  At that point, I exited stage left as the previous actor, down the stairs. 

But most strange was the out of character actor dancing pass me on the stairs.  This performer did not blend well into the theme of the dance.  This actor seemed Improperly cast for the black/white production.   Had the play’s director erred in placing this actor with skin like mine in the role of oppressor?   Was this actor injuring another black person in the absence of the oppressor?

Sunday, December 8, 2019

On Saturday, I rode down to a local haven for those of us seeking the “warmth of other suns,” those of us seeking a respite from the daily drudge of Jim Crow acidity.  This haven holds those of us of African descent in high esteem.  It has a way of neutralizing the singe of Jim Crow mainly with sacred gatherings.  However, my bike ride to the rays of the other suns was marred by unexpected dancers of the black/white play.  All lining the three-mile route to the sacred space.  Each one I passed singed my psyche, their optics reeking of oppression.  The symbols they held with an eight-foot line tortured my great-grandparents in the antebellum and in the fight for integration.  What possessed these actors in the dance?  Had the stage been expanded outside of South Beach?

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 2 - December 9-15, 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Has the performance between black and white dancers extended outside of South Beach?  Is the theater universal? 

This chronicle’s premise is that the author experiences daily, racially based harassment similar to the author’s parents.  ProPublica supports this premise in “Get Out”:  Black Families Harassed in Their Own HomesOur Documenting Hate database shows that the terrorizing of people where they live is alive and well decades after the civil rights movement.

Friday, December 13, 2019
It's logical that the stage is universal in the Jim Crow black/white play.  Dancers from other districts in the black/white dance follow the same script; fixation on the black body much like the white women who danced with Marc Peeples in Detroit.  Marc’s dance partners attempted to vanquish him completely from the stage through complex choreography.   But a very discerning judge observed the white women’s moves and awarded Marc points in the dance.  Conversely, Judge Bryant deducted points from the white women’s routine, labeled them stalkers and harassers since these white women initiated all contact with Marc.  During a criminal trial, Judge Bryant stated: 

"This is disgusting and a waste of the court's time and resources… [the three white women]…engaged in a very targeted and constant harassment of the young man" that appeared to be racially motivated.  "I found their testimony to be offensive.” 

Do my black/white dance partners in South Beach use the same complex choreography as the three white women cited above?   Do they instigate all routines without my permission?   Don't I have a say if I really don’t care to dance the black/white dance with anyone?

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 3 - December 16 -23, 2019

Friday, December 19, 2019
Days when the black white dance is suspended are refreshing.  Friday, was that type of a day.   As I boarded the train, a young woman yielded her seat to me.  This kind act made me feel so well respected, no longer feeling less than human.   It’s so inspiring to be graced with the kindness of the younger generation.  Later, in a crowded dining hall, this same young woman welcomed me to her table as we both got breakfast.  It made my morning!

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 4 - December 23-29, 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019
This week began with a brown, glass bottle smashing a few feet from me onto the Brannan platform just as I exited from the train.  It was around ten in the morning.  The bottle was thrown so hard it shattered into shards as it hit the platform. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Most memorable during this last week of the year in the black and white dance is the kindness of others.  It’s the hope of this writer that random acts of kindness become infectious in the new year.

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 5 - December 30 - January 5, 2019-2020

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Yesterday, on Friday, I got a tender reception from staff while visiting a center devoted to serving others.  The warmth, comforting and affirming atmosphere drenched me in love!  It was great compared to the many times I visited this area of the city and felt chased out and harassed.

This entry is the first in the new year.

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 6 - January 6-12, 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020

This week was like all the weeks in the black and white dance here in South Beach, San Francisco, filled with intense scrutiny of the black body.  Makes one wonder which black bodies can walk, shop or bike without eyes on them?  Which black bodies are welcomed as peacemakers?

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 7 - January 13-19, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020
One knows they’re in a beautiful town not only because of how expensive it is to live in the city but also because of the stunning sunrises that frame the town’s bay waters!  Viewing light on the water contrasted with the early morning sky electrically charges the senses, reinvigorating the joy of being alive!  These dynamics graced my bike ride over the Mission Creek channel early Monday morning.

Conversely, what distracts from living in an enviable locale is the Jim Crow, black and white dance, ever present and ever denied by those who fixate on the treks of black bodies in this luxurious town.

Midday I sat with a racially mixed crowd as we learned about our hidden bias, the bias white players in the Jim Crow dance can’t bring themselves to face and as stated above, ever deny.   It’s the White Fragility Dr. Robin Di Angelo lives to overcome.  Dr. Di Angelo is a white woman.  According to her, white people fear a personal introspection of their race relations to the detriment of People of Color.  So much so, that they fail to identify areas of possible growth.  She suggest that:

"An antidote to white fragility is to build up our (white people) stamina to bear witness to the pain of racism that we cause, not to impose conditions that require people of color to continually VALIDATE our denial.page 128, White Fragility:  Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020
What constitutes and unlawful assembly?  Do neighbors have the right to antagonize and picket another neighbor because of that neighbor’s expressed belief or immutable characteristics?  Such an assembly showed up around 5:30 p.m., Wednesday along a neighborhood block near home.  Bizarre, reactionary crowd.


Do they believe they’re seeking justice or just punishing a person?  Do they term their presence, peaceful, non-violence protest?  What are they protesting?  Are they misguided to believe justice stems from imposing one’s will on another?  How can their hearts be filled with such disdain for a neighbor to pester them so?   Are these actions in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. who rallied around loving individual people as opposed to hating, harming individual folk?   As he stated, we defeat evil systems, not other human beings!

“Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. 
It is the refusal to defeat any individual. 
When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power,
 you seek only to defeat evil SYSTEMS.

Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love,

but you seek to defeat the SYSTEM."  MLK Jr.

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 8 - January 20-26, 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020
Weird Friday, left the house for an appointment.   Got bad vibes this would be a mob hysteria day.  Sure enough, hysterics were in the South Beach air.   The HHWH was back, teasing folks.  Mob hysteria was most evident on Drumm Street with the absence of cabs, none to be found as if they were boycotting some entity, person or thing.  The city’s sweep team was there, checking the street and gutter for I don’t know what.   Even the convenient store choir sang in harmony in Friday’s black and white play.  The chorus called on all in the neighborhood to rush into this particular franchised store as if to prevent a hazard.  Did I miss the script?  Was there a part for me in this presentation on Friday?  Were certain people privy to the blocking and choreography and I not as lucky?

Later on Friday
There’s always a saint in the performance of these black and white dances and one appeared at the grocery store on Friday.  This woman went out her way to welcome everyone, even love everyone the way we all crave to be loved.  She took the time to load my groceries, would have even walked me to my car if I had one.  God Bless this Saint!

Saturday, January 25, 2020
Tried to take out my recycle and compost as I’ve done for twenty-one years since living in my building.  Got the queerest reaction!  After dropping off the items, I left the garage and tried to call for the elevator but then a woman jumped out of the elevator and audibly gasped at my presence.  Then she ran into the garage in a panic, turned on her car alarm.  Scared me a little.  Within minutes she was back at the elevator.  I was still shaken a little a bit by the woman’s erratic behavior, I took the stairs.

Was there some threat lurking in the garage I missed? 

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 9 - January 27- February 2, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

After lunch I made it to my biweekly meeting where we study and discuss hidden bias, racial profiling and how they impact the community. Our group is racially diverse with Black, Latina, Asian and White people courageously listening and validating the lived experience of each member. 

Later in the evening I felt super charged by sitting in a room of like-minded women.  I felt so uplifted hearing women in the room share identical observations of the need to prioritize the movement for Black Lives in this current political environment.

Saturday, February 1
Once again, I’m reminded of how good it is to live in my hood as I walked the three short blocks to the World Class Transbay Center.  The weather agreed with my trek since it was a very cool, crisp sunny morning.  It was an exhilarating morning not only because I was in motion but also because of the unexpected rally along the route to the Transbay Center.  The sight of this clan of folks made my heart race! 

Makes one wonder are their actions meant to intimidate other community members?  Are the members of this clan hyper focused on the movements of certain people in the neighborhood?  Are they in some type of campaign, reactive to others?   Undeterred by this clan of people, knowing no one has the legal right to intimidate another person based on that person’s God given characteristics, I soldiered onto my destination.  When I arrived, I had the luxury of being immersed into a cloud of saints, loving people!

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 10 - February 3-9, 2020

Monday, February 3, 2020

South Beach San Francisco’s proximity to transportation hubs is ideal.  I sat across from Caltrain Depot waiting on Muni.  A clear, blue sky with a lazy sun put me into a peaceful trance.  The day was great!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Caught a Muni train and as I stepped off the train onto the platform, I got a great, affirming comment.  A pleasant young woman noticed my t-shirt which simply states the word BELONG.  The t-shirt is a creation of the Othering and Belonging conferences.  These seminars stem from john a. powell’s Berkeley Institute of the same name.  This young woman gleamed with excitement eagerly ready to discuss the principles of these conferences, what the theme means.  Her friendly face and enthusiasm make me smile.

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 11 - February 10-16, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020
As I do every other week, I sat today in the company of people resolved to address bias which leads to biased actions against Black people.  Everyone really seemed to be working hard, reading and compiling resources to fully understand the problem and thus resolve it with effective strategies.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
I am watching the San Francisco Board of Supervisor's live broadcast from the chambers.  SFGovTv is the media company that produces endless hours of public meetings in the city so that anyone can watch civic meetings and programs live or view later.  San Francisco District 10 Supervisor, Shamann Walton opened with a special program for Black History Month in which he introduced new legislation calling for reparations to the city’s African Americans. 

The entire board is in the midst of recognizing February as Black History month.  African American women from each of the city’s 11 districts were recognized for their tireless struggles for civil rights in this city by the bay.   “Unapologetically Black” is how one woman described Supervisor Walton, the lone Black board member.  One community woman sang a soul stirring version of “Lift Every Voice” this song is also called the Black National Anthem. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Great view of the Embarcadero this evening while attending the book launch of a very popular leader.  He directs a very renown bay area nonprofit.  The mood among the assembly of folks is laid back but engaged. 

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 12 - February 17-23, 2020

More to come!

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 13 - February 24 - March 1, 2020

More to come!

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 14 - March 2-8, 2020

More to come!

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 15 - March 9-15, 2020

More to come!

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

April 15, 2020

‘Are We Pershing Together as Fools’ Amidst a Global Pandemic?

We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.
Because of our involvement in humanity we must be concerned about every human being.  - MLK Jr.

As we measure each moment, each hour and each day by the uninhibited, free breath we take, not knowing which breath will be our last, how is it we still may perish as fools?  Will hate, disinhibition and indifference be as lethal as the disease we all now fear?  How is it that the tribal rivalries* the late Senator John McCain warned about will hasten our demise as a civil society rather than a demise from an unprecedented, invisible foe, like the coronovirus? 

I pen this essay in response to last evening’s crude encounter with human kind.  My condo mates recklessly broached the barriers set in place by both local, state and national health orders as I tried to receive essential groceries in the building’s lobby.  These health orders require everyone, especially the younger folks, unknowingly transmitting COVID-19, to stay at least 6-10 feet from other people as well as avoid crowding into small spaces.  This is because the novel coronavirus’ spread is so undetermined that all precautions must be exercised diligently to prevent mass infections that then lead to mass causalities.


This is especially true for those who lack the immunity to survive this disease or have medical complications that inhibits their ability to withstand such a virus.

Out a love of life that I so enjoy and as ordered by local authorities, I have committed to wait out this current shelter-in-place directive until people most likely to die, if infected by COVID-19, are vaccinated against it, gain some immunity against getting sick. 

At least locally, breaking these orders are punishable as a misdemeanor and folks have been cited.  Yet, why are my neighbors still infusing themselves into close contact with others, appearing to weigh their actions as justified?  Are their actions intentional?  Is this a new form of harassment, inciting fear into targeted individuals?

*"We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe."

Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach San Francisco
 May 5, 2020 (amended on August 2, 2020)

Gus:  Family Member or Family Pet?

Gus, pictured here, is the rottweiler/bloodhound mix I co-parented from a puppy, barely able to walk up stairs, to a daunting canine that would clear sidewalks.  I've been a pet parent several times over.  I raised many a pet from cats to dogs but my nest is empty now by my own choice.  Isn't it just proper etiquette then that I and only I make the decision as to if or when I commune with pets, no one else?


With the prevalence of so many hounds, do pet parents conscript non-pet parents to babysit their non-human animals throughout all aspects of civil society?  Is it my imagination or do they line the streets in a pet parent histrionics parade demanding anyone nearby see their cuddly, fury pet as family?

See What others are saying:

An Open Letter From Black America to White Peoples’ Pets


The Canine Terror

Since slavery, dogs have been used to intimidate and control African Americans.


Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach San Francisco
Monday, July 5, 2021

I have not written anything in this journal for quite a while.  But Sunday’s intrusive and very unpleasant encounters with folks on the fourth of July holiday taxed my psyche so that I must write about each and every incident!

I left the house around 10:30 a.m. heading down to the Chase Center in Mission Bay for what was touted as a July 4th Block party.  The Chase Center is the home of the former Oakland Warriors, the NBA’s championship team.  Paradoxically, though the team rose rapidly to elite, legacy status, they have not won a championship since leaving Oakland, CA.  Seems that moving to San Francisco jinxed the team.   Update:  Warriors won their first champion in San Francisco!

I love riding my bike down the bike paths to this area since I don’t have to mix with cars nor much foot traffic.  I feel so free once I turn off the Lefty O’Doole Bridge and on to Francois Street.  It’s quite exhilarating moving through the wind, legs pumping propelling the bike forward and there are not many folks pestering you.  At least I thought so until I reach the farmers’ market held on Sundays at the Chase Center.

It was a clear, warm and sunny day and a pleasant plaza set up.  I rode down the street a bit looking for a place to walk my bike into the market area.  As I did, I noticed the amount of pet parents pimping their pups through an area clearly designated “Pet Free.”  Anywhere food is sold, animals are prohibited by CA State Law.  Therefore, was the “No Animals” sign just propped up as a symbol of the unenlightened, non-vegan?   

I selected which booth I would buy from because I needed to put something into my stomach to help me digest my supplements I’d taken earlier in the morning.  I was hoping for a savory snack but landed on Bernal Bakery.  No one was in line when I stepped up to look over their wares and then the Mob Hysteria, I coined in a poem, happened, the dreaded Hipster Infusion soon ensued.  Just like moths to a flame, all the folks gathered in line.  

At another booth, I got some meat delights.  Quite good the next day.  And then, as I rode back down my beloved path toward the bridge over Mission Creek Channel, a canine crazy couple chided me with the phrase, “there’s a bike path.”  I must have heard these words a thousand times, coughed up like a reflex by busy-body folks punishing people they assume are not following the rules. 

What’s troubling is why they presumed I needed that information?  Why did they feel they needed to intervene on my behavior, my decision making, my very own activities?  I explained to them I am tired of people calling me out yet they don’t know me or need to chastise me as if I have some uncontrollable, deviant instinct.  I’m a very conscientious community member.  I ride my bike safely though the streets.  They don’t have to corral my every move.

Since it seemed like they were, without provocation, judging me, I finally left this couple with my sentence and pronounced them “vigilantes!”

Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco

February 27, 2022

This is my first entry in 2022.  Regardless of posting these many incidents and indignities of race-based harassment that fall upon me each day here in liberal, progressive San Francisco, I still see and watch inordinate fixation on Black bodies here in South Beach, East Cut, Mission Bay and beyond.  I guess we can thank “click hungry” news feeds along with fear instigating media for this unnecessary trend.


Speaking with other African Americans living in the city and Bay Area, we all observed that images of Black people committing crime too often and disproportionately meets our gaze through commercial media, as if no other population commits crime.


Must we remind everyone that all Black bodies are presumed innocent?  Skin tone does connote criminal activity or deviancy.

Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco

March 26, 2022

Boy!  Did I feel ambushed today as I rode my bike down to the financial district this morning!  Just like I stated in my previous entry, people’s “inordinate fixation on Black bodies” fell upon me throughout my trek.  Most demonstrative was the blonde woman who crossed California Street at Battery around 10:00 a.m. just as I was pulling up to Lens Crafters in the 100 block of Battery.  I was trying to get my glasses fixed today.


If I read this blonde woman’s body language correctly, she was apprehensive as I pulled up to the intersection on my bike.  I got confirmation about her uneasiness as her pace quicken through the crosswalk.  When I crossed the street just behind her, she eventually went into a full run as if a threat lay directly behind her.  Did she think I was following her?  Did she mistake my movement in a Black body as a sign I intended to do her harm?  I tried to laugh it off as so absurd!  Yet, I have to record it as proof positive that I’m Living My Parents’ Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco.

It was such a pretty day, aside from the anti-Black harassment from the HHWH who, just by chance, were outside on Delancey Street at the same time I came downstairs.  Is this feigning coincidental meeting or just the regular planned demonstration by CC?  It so sad that people purposely make their pets unwilling conscripts in their war against another homo sapiens, so very sad.  And they say they’re not racist!

And finally, the serial stalker who lives in my building, proved positively that I could not move without escort throughout my South Beach community.  As is this person’s habit, they cross my path, inject themselves into my space.  No matter how many times I tell this person to leave me alone, this serial stalker exercises no inhibition!  I even emailed this person with this footnote quote in my message, but she couldn’t get the hint:

This is such a key part of racism in relationships; white people feel entitled to interactions with people of color where the people of color are not able to set boundaries or set the terms of the engagement."  by AM, POC Pamphlet

I did see change in the behavior of these people who inject themselves, uninvited into Black people’s spaces after I consulted with a personal injury attorney.  Once I gave him the names of the people who inflicted intentional emotional distress on me and my family here in the condo by gaslighting, the offenders moved out!  Should I take this tactic again?

Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco.

Monday, August 22, 2022

“The Black Codes, rooted in a hateful, anti-Black agenda, were created to bolster the dehumanization and degradation of Black people, systematically, across the United States of America.  This is indisputable and indicative of the obsession Whites had with Black bodies.  They remained obsessed with finding new and improved ways to consistently terrorize and torment Black people.”  - Dante King

I sure felt this undue scrutiny, described above, white eyes on Black bodies, yesterday, August 21, 2022 while sitting at a booth on Folsom and Beale Streets.  I was there because I was encouraged to help out with a city organization.   So, I took a 2-hour shift to keep the booth occupied and to demonstrate that I am a very responsible person.

I toiled in my mind, over and over about participating, even though I was quite apprehensive of visiting this East Cut area since it’s well known for its plethora of Hysterical Hipsters with Hounds (HHH).