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I didn’t know ‘Strolling While Black’ was an issue – until now.

Donald Sherman, a lawyer and father, is confused and frustrated.

Sherman, who is African-American, was pushing a stroller carrying his baby, Caleb, at Kingman and Heritage Islands Park near the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. last week when racism took hold.

A white woman who was jogging past Sherman – for reasons that are still mind-boggling – called the police to report “a suspicious man walking the bike path with a baby.”

So weeks after two black men were arrested in Starbucks for planning a business meeting and three black women were harassed unnecessarily for checking into an AirBnb, Sherman is questioned by a law enforcement officer just because he wanted his baby to get some fresh air.

Sherman posted his account on social media last week:

“30 minutes into our stroll I got flagged by a security officer in one of those cars marked “Special Police” on the side. I was a bit confused as to whether she was looking for me to stop but she honked twice and pulled over so I got the picture. She told me that she received a complaint from someone who said there was a “suspicious man” walking on the bike path with a baby. She said that when the complainant was asked to describe my race, she declined.”

Sherman said his interaction with the security officer was pleasant but it doesn’t excuse the reason Sherman was questioned in the first place.

Why would this woman find Sherman so threatening? Why would she feel Sherman was “suspicious?” Would she have called the police had Sherman been white?

“If this complaint had been made to a different security officer or an actual cop, things could have gone very differently,” Sherman wrote. “This is exactly why we have to talk about white privilege and why black lives matter. Because at any point doing anything anywhere my safety and my child’s safety could [have] been in jeopardy because [of] some well-intentioned complaint.”

Sherman was pushing his baby’s stroller in Southeast D.C.. It’s a historically black neighborhood east of the Anacostia River that is undergoing a stark demographic transformation and where gentrification is a dirty word in some circles.

Not everyone is pleased by what some call progress. Home prices in the area are rising as development increases and many Black folks are being priced out of their own community.

“East of the river is sort of seen as the next frontier for development,” Gloria Robinson, a community organizer, told The Washington City Paper. “Everything that could be developed pretty much has been developed.”

For the white woman who made the call, a Black man taking his baby for a stroll in a gentrifying neighborhood felt Sherman was “suspicious” even in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Could it have been that since Sherman’s child is much lighter than he is, she thought the child didn’t belong to him?

So where can Black men feel comfortable walking these days? We get harassed while driving or walking through white neighborhoods and now we’re even being questioned while walking in what is still a Black community.

Sherman, to his credit, remained positive.

“Today is a good day,” Sherman wrote of his experience, “so we are gonna finish our stroll.”

One day Sherman may decide to tell Caleb about his racial strolling experience to help his son navigate life as a young Black man in America. It will be sad if that conversation is still necessary when baby Caleb grows up.

What do you think?

PHOTO: Donald Sherman FB




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37 thoughts on “Fathering While Black? Yes, It’s Now Suspicious

  1. factorsaffecttherate on said:

    This is a non issue. He is EXTREMELY dark skinned, married to a white woman, and was with his biracial son who looks rather dissimilar to him. I think that its not so outrageous for someone to be suspicious or concerned seeing a male with a child who looks so different from himself. I mean after all, most races of men on the planet earth prefer and pursue to have children who resemble themselves.

  2. Fact 1:Blacks makes up 12% of this country population… So technically, there are more white people on welfare then blacks… Fact 2: ever since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the white power that be has devised ways of putting black man back in bondage. i.e. prison, by providing drugs, guns, white women, no meaningful education, etc.. Yet, some are us are too stupid to realize what is really happening. WAKE UP BLACK AMERICA

  3. “They” are trying to discourage black people from feeling comfortable in the park that “they” didn’t used to frequent. Part of an un-neighborly “take over” mentality. Fight the good fight. Keep going to the park. They will have to learn to share.

  4. jhuf on said:

    “Fathering while black suspicious??? Considering the out of wedlock birth rate in Black America, and how it’s now widely accepted in our culture (no so much 30/40 years ago)
    I’d say yeah one might do a double take which is more sad than a white woman calling the cops

  5. Beatrice Brown on said:

    You got to look at who is really behind all this racial hatred towards Black people this ain’t new y’all.The devil is behind all this,the Black man has been hated by him since the day he helped Christ carry his cross and he won’t stop no time soon.There need to be stiffer penalties for calling the police for racially motivated complaints just make an example of the first few people and its gonna shut the whole thing down.Your happiness and security should not be based on whether or not I give you a big kool-aid smile when you pass me on the street.

    • lois on said:

      Amen–Yes, a Black man helped Christ carry His cross. Apparently, everyone does not know this. But, nonetheless, I also agree that there should be stiffer penalties for nonsense calls to the police. Supposedly, the police should have more important matters to deal with than pursue people of color. Many times when they are called, they attack the Black “suspect” simply because he or she is doing something, like minding their own business and not bothering anyone “while Black.” This won’t be resolved overnight, but the bottom line is that WHITE PEOPLE NEED TO MIND THEIR BUSINESS!! Just like the fool who was on hold for 2 hours trying to complain to the police about Black folks having a cookout in the park.

  6. Eddie on said:

    People .. this isn’t new ..Trump didn’t start this ..this has ALWAYS been here just hidden in plain sight…If we stop trying to be WHITE we can see what going on… i rather the racism be open than such thing as “color blind”..that’s an insult ,,,see my color , respect my color and we will try to get along ..However please don’t say you don’t see my color..I’ts very hard not to see BLACK it’s a dominant color !!!

    • Passing Through!! on said:

      But you’re the same MF stereotyping black women as “Angry, bitter and hard to love” the same disdain you have for black women white society has for you as a black man. Here’s a brother doing the right thing being a father to his child and he still had the cops called on him and not by an angry black woman but a racist white bi**c. But I bet you won’t dare single ALL white women out as being bitter, racist, angry and hateful. This is how Stephon Clark got his black woman hating killed by police, he made the black woman his enemy.

      • Eddie on said:

        YOU seem angry !!! are you a black woman ?..first of all i have a mother , Grandmother , Aunt , Daughter …they aren’t ALL angry . however most of them are ..we talk about it aften ..My 2 son’s (18 and 26) both notice this with the young ladies the come in touch with it’s not me…check yourself and you may see it …

      • Passing Through!! on said:

        @EDDIE***YOU seem angry !!! are you a black woman
        There you go “angry black woman bulls**t!” What does my race has to do with the truth. I guess this means your sons will probably end up marrying white women since you’re grooming them to see all black women as angry.

      • Eddie on said:

        Hopefully my sons will marry a beautiful black woman like their mother..hopefully they won’t have children until they are married , hopefully they will stay with their wives and family ..that’s the type of young men i’m raising !! Hard working MEN !! Take care of their woman and children..

  7. Mac Daddy on said:

    The black man has been absent from our family structure for decades. Society, all races , are accustomed to seeing a single black mother with multiple kids. No man. And we delivered in spades. To keep that welfare ca$h rolling in, a man could NOT be living in the household. This was what society expected of us and we lived down to it. To expect people’s perceptions to change overnight is absurd. This woman was simply reporting something that was out of character for the black man. Simple as that, it’s our own fault. I know it ain’t what you want to hear, but the Scholar got to lay it out straight. Peace

    • Alice on said:

      you are absolutely SICK! Not all black people grew up without two parents’ family. You need to stop all of your idiotic rhetoric.

      • We didn’t all receive welfare either. This ignorant ranmous just come into this website to stir the pot.

      • Mac Daddy on said:

        I didn’t say all, but at 74% it is the overwhelming majority. Is that really your debate point, “not all are from single parent homes so your statement can’t be true”? Failure to recognize the root issue of our cultural decay only exacerbates it. Sorry you don’t like the facts Alice, but they are real.

      • Mac Daddy on said:

        Tell me D, what is the percentage of blacks on welfare today? Secondly, did that number increase or decrease under Obama’s 8 years. I come here to spread the truth, but that is poison to the current day democratic slave.

      • americanize on said:

        Alice mac sissy is not black he’s a white supremacist troll.Just think if this idiot was black he would be a azz kissing booth licking coon.

  8. Justbeingme on said:

    As black people in America we are still treated as a threat. Even though this country was built on the backs of brown people this is white america because they are in control. Look at what is running this country we are not able to sit in certain establishments or ride in cars or walk on any street without being treated like an animal or a danger to a white person. We will never be excepted as an equal or as a human. Because a lot of them are inhuman just plain ignorant and evil. Smh

    • lois on said:

      They may be “running this country” but their supremacy is based on a lie. They stole this country from native people of color who were here before them. They snatched Africans out of their Motherland and brought them here in enslavement, and are still torturing us into the 21st century. Why are Black people viewed as a threat? Because white people know they are historically
      WRONG and they feel threatened because their lies are catching up with them. They have become the minority in this country and they want to preserve what they believe is theirs. Yes, some of them are inhumane, ignorant, and evil–but I am not afraid of them and I DON’T worship them. I worship the One True God who will correct all of this nonsense. I may not live to see it, but they can’t erase all of us nor delete our history. They can keep trying to “Make America Great Again” but the truth is America was never “Great” because it was built on lies and thievery.

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