My brother was insulted and threatened with arrest by an elderly white lady on Stanford’s campus after he tried to rescue me from a very difficult predicament. He came to look at my loaner car which got stuck in front of a residence hall on campus. The transmission failed and wouldn’t shift into reverse. It only went forward, and since the other end of the driveway was blocked off I was unable to get out. In an effort to get the car to shift and find a way out, I inadvertently slid it down a path way and partially on to the lawn. My friend who lived at the residence tried her luck and working the gears under her uncle’s phone directives. Things weren’t working, the situation went from bad to worse. I had to run to class to meet a student and show a film on the other side of campus by 7:30. I then met my brother at 8:30 and we drove back to my stuck car. As he got out of the car and tried to see what happened, she promptly opened her window and started launching insults and threats of calling the police. He immediately returned to his car, enraged. He informed me that the elderly white lady called him a nigger, among other things. We waited for the tow company but found that he didn’t have the proper equipment. So, I had to go back this morning at 8 and waited for an hour to get the car pulled out of its quagmire. The same woman recognized me from the many African studies events. She said, “Oh, it’s you! What are you doing you IDIOT! Bikes go up and down the pathway!” I tried to explain, but she shut the window. I was able to drive the loaner car home because I didn’t need to go in reverse. I’m hoping that my own car will be fixed soon and that I don’t have to deal with this anymore. My mother told me today to not ask my brother for help if I have car problems. I live in Palo Alto, which is still a ridiculous city where Blacks are often seen as oddities or looked at with suspicion. He didn’t need the legal problems and any confrontations with police.
I see this elderly lady all the time at Africa studies related events. I am incensed that she would insult my brother and threaten him over something that was not his fault. I am especially appalled that she would use the word nigger. I want to do something to expose her for the racist, mean spirit, phoney that she is. How could someone so fascinated by Africa turn to racial epithets and insults. Considering what generation she comes from, I guess it is not so surprising. So, in your opinion should I say something at the next Africa table. Should I ask her loud and in front of other people if she called my brother a nigger and to demand an apology?