One point of comfort, however, is that as neighbors who were interviewed by the local outlet News 8 report, they don’t back up the message behind the letter at all. In fact, they found it abhorrent. “I don’t understand how anyone can live in a neighborhood—especially our neighborhood being relatively diverse for the area that we live in—and think like that,” Nick Olson, who lives in the neighborhood, told News 8, adding that he found it “disgusting.”
Smith’s wife, Brookelynn, told local outlet Fox 59, “It’s always going to be an uneasy feeling because you just don’t know who said it. Who’s thinking that way about you?” The Smiths say they are, in fact, planning to have another birthday party soon and ask that if anyone is bothered by noise, to simply call them or knock on the door instead of sending another racist letter. The family also says they’ve reported the letter to the police.
Of course, this is sadly far from the first time a comparable incident has happened. As my colleague Lauren Floyd covered, for example, one interracial couple in North Carolina reported that they received an anonymous letter warning them not to put Black Lives Matter signs up to prevent the area from turning into a “semi-ghetto.” In other neighborhood racism, as my colleague Walter Einenkel covered, a white guy threatened a Black teenager while she was outside of her own home in a gated community, saying she didn’t “belong here.” Earlier in June, Walter covered a similar story in which a woman (now dubbed Permit Karen) called the police on a Black family building a patio on their own property.
What can white people do to combat this everyday racism? Support, protect, and practice solidarity with your community members of color including being vocal and unapologetic about decrying racism and microaggressions.
You can watch a short interview with the family below, courtesy of CBS4 Indy via YouTube.