There is something to be said for race relations in America today. Looking from a very broad perspective, it is hard to come to any conclusion besides evolution of problems has not lead to evolution of solutions. That being said, I cannot blame the average African-American for mistrusting–or at least approaching with trepidation a white person. In fact, as I have personally witnessed on numerous occasions, white decency towards black people can illicit a few different responses.
These are nothing more than my own observations–simply from riding on the bus. I noticed the phenomenon once when a black women toting a child got onto a full bus, in which I had a seat. The way I was raised was to give up my seat for a female regardless, whether it be a mother or not–so naturally I offered my seat. Her response was,” I don’t need your seat”. Surprised, I offered it to an older man, and eventually got off at my stop.
This made me think of a previous experience I had on a bus, where an older black woman refused my seat. Since then, my observations have been interesting. The responses are generally on one spectrum or the other–the people are either overtly grateful, as if they owed me something–sometimes I am humbly thanked, but others a negative response is actually elicited.
I can only attribute this to the modern sphere of race relations in America. Because African-Americans were so mistreated in the past, its as if they expect to be mistreated. Some raise their pride levels, and get angry. Some are so thankful I truly feel badly. While some just give a nice thank you, more often than not they avert eye contact.
This says a lot–showing that not much has changed, just evolved.