Sarah Jean Wyatt, American Renaissance, October 24, 2020
This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.
When I was five, my mother washed my mouth out with soap for saying “nigger.” It was rude, she said, and only white trash talked like that. Back then, all the blacks in my hometown lived in a tiny community on the other side of the railroad tracks. They had their own church down by the river, and their children attended a one-room school built by philanthropists during the Great Depression.
I met my husband in college in the early 1970s, and was happy he was a liberal Southerner, too. We got married and bought an old gingerbread Victorian in his city, not far from my hometown. The realtor broke the rules and warned us that we would have black neighbors, but we told her we didn’t mind. She was aghast. For a long time, though, things were okay. The blacks in our neighborhood were homeowners and our children played together — but we didn’t socialize with their parents. It puzzles me now that I ignored that obvious dissonance. The truth was, we were living in a fantasy.
My husband worked hard, but I stayed at home with our children, so we had to be frugal. Our kids attended public school at first, like most of the other white children in the neighborhood. When my youngest started kindergarten, his class was majority white — even though the local high school was over 95 percent black. High school was years away, though. We thought we had plenty of time.
It was during middle school that whites started peeling away. My daughter’s white best friend began using ghetto slang, and her parents quickly moved the family. Even my sister and her husband, progressives who lived in a nearby city, moved to an almost 100 percent white town because of the “good schools.” Whatever their politics, nobody bothered to offer explanations or rationalizations. When our daughter complained about being teased at school because of her race, we knew we had to do something, fast.
Though we had both always believed in God, my husband and I hadn’t attended church regularly at any point in our marriage. But because of the problems our daughter was having in public school, we gave it some thought, joined a church, and sent our children to the Christian school they ran. My husband had drifted to the right in the early 1990s, but the 2000 election was my first Republican vote. Still, part of the reason I felt comfortable voting for the GOP that year was because Bush supported immigration.
What we hadn’t realized was that our neighborhood was changing. Our street was still the same, but a hub of violent crime had sprung up just a few blocks away. The police knew about it, but we didn’t. In the Fall of 2010, stories started appearing in the newspaper about home invasions, some of them nearby. The news stories emphasized, though, that all of these crimes were connected with drugs. The police assured us at hastily called town hall meetings that there was little to worry about. Then in December of that year, the unthinkable happened. That night ultimately caused my complete change in my outlook on race.
It was just after I had put on my flannel nightgown to go to bed when I heard an explosive crack. My first thought was that an ice-covered tree had fallen, but then I heard another, and then another. I ran up the stairs and there, inches from my face, stood a man in a ski mask, pointing a sawed-off shotgun at my husband. Our son was in the kitchen, held at knife-point by another intruder.
I panicked and ran back downstairs, locked the bedroom, and opened a back door onto the ice-covered porch. Our house overlooked a wooded hill, and I laid flat and rolled down it until I hit a tree. Then I hid behind the very trunk that had blocked my path, trying not to move, or even breathe. At that moment, I was a wild animal, unable to form a coherent thought, operating on instinct alone. I could hear deep voices shouting, but couldn’t understand them — English suddenly made no sense to me. I tried to pray but only one word formed itself in my mind: “God.”
After a few minutes the robbers left and my husband came outside. I staggered out of the woods in my wet nightgown. My almost wordless prayer had been answered: None of us were harmed. The police were there within a minute, but no prosecutions ever came of it. As the snow continued to fall, my husband and son nailed a piece of plywood across the splintered hole in the front door of our house. We sat on the sofa together until daylight, staring straight ahead, terrified the robbers would return.
It turned out that the once lovely two-story house on the corner was a drug house. I suspect that the home invaders were directed to us by a black addict who had shown up at our house weeks earlier, asking for a handout. I’d slammed the door in her face, fed up with the constant stream of vagrants. She must have thought we had more money than we did, and wanted to get back at us. The robbers got $85 from my husband’s billfold. We were lucky he’d been paid the day before.
Afterwards, our son continued to do well in school, but had issues with anxiety and depression. I began jumping and my heart would start racing with every unfamiliar sound I heard. When we went Christmas shopping at the mall, a black man stood near me and my feet did a 180 and tried to run from underneath me — nearly sending me tumbling down an escalator. Sometimes our bodies speak the truth even when we cannot say the words out loud. I still wasn’t ready to absorb the lesson of that horrible night, and in my prayers I began asking God to keep me from becoming a racist.
But the truth was that I fantasized endlessly about killing those intruders. We had no guns at the time, but my husband and I discussed over and over how we could have shot them. Maybe if we had met the intruders sitting on the sofa, facing the front door, both of us with pistols cocked and ready to shoot? I could have shot the man at the stop of the stairs if I’d had a gun in the bedroom, too. We couldn’t afford to move, not yet. So we bought a gun and started going to the shooting range. I got myself elected president of the neighborhood association, hoping that from that position, I could do something about all the crime.
But it didn’t make a difference. The neighborhood continued to deteriorate. You could see black crooks with white hookers milling about. One day my husband and I came home to find that someone had tried to kick in our backdoor, but couldn’t because we had reinforced it with iron — so instead the thug had kicked in the glass. Then our son, who had moved out, came by for a visit and was mugged at gunpoint by two young blacks. The muggers were arrested shortly after the crime, but all the same, that was the last straw — I was done.
We sold our pretty white house to a black couple and finally moved. The lies I had told myself for years were replaced with questions: Why can’t white people organize to protect their own interests? What will happen when white people become a minority and cannot speak for themselves? I began to understand, at last, what white folks in my Southern hometown had already known for so long: it was better when black people lived in their own part of town and stayed there. All the hand-wringing in the world couldn’t change that hard truth.
If you have a story about how you became racially aware, we’d like to hear it. If it is well written and compelling, we will publish it. Use a pen name, stay under 1,200 words, and send it to us here.