Beaten to death

One evening we stopped at a spot in yet another bad part of philly just before it got dark. Now obviously dusk in the ghetto in the summertime is a bad combination, but we hoped to be in and out. Just as we were unloading bikes from the truck a woman drove by and said to us “You know you’re not in a good area, right?” We assured her that we knew and that we’d be leaving soon. She followed up with “And you know you’re white, right?” It really shored up everything I had sensed and been told that whole week - that racism and segregation are alive and well in Philadelphia, and that white people are often not welcome in black neighborhoods. Overt racism is something I know exists, but when you’re actually confronted with it, it’s such a shocking, awful thing. To be clear, this woman was not being racist - she had only our best interests (and safety) at heart. She knew the score, and she knew we shouldn’t be there.

We continued about our business and she drove off. A few minutes later, after she had parked her car, she walked back over to us, still concerned. She casually told me, “Just so you guys know, a white guy was beaten to death here last week.” Beaten to death. There. Last week. Ostensibly because he was white in a black neighborhood. wrong place. Wrong time. I don’t even know what to say about that.

But anyway, Jeff got a clip at the spot, and none of us were beaten to death. I guess it was a goo day.

Written by: Walter Pieringer

Publish by: Rideuk BMX Mag