Reflections on Race: 'Our fear's a real fear because we know the odds of something happening'
Alonzo Younger is retired from corporate sales and lives in Uniondale. He offered his views on the protests now as former protester himself.
Back in 1969 while a student at Howard University, Younger protested at the White House. He calls it "an unbelievable experience."
"To me it's a sense of pride," says Younger. "I have a sense of pride at watching the protesters, because they understand that they really, can't promote violence and be effective. They've been able to separate themselves, the serious protesters, have been able to separate themselves from the looters and the people that are there to stir up trouble. That happened within the course of about a week, within three or four days. That was terrific. Because it went from the first day or two with a lot of conversations about looting and violence, to about fourth or fifth day was more focused on peaceful protests, on nonviolent protests. That was terrific."
Younger grew up in suburban Trenton, New Jersey, in a Black, middle class community, but he went to predominantly white schools.
"We went to a predominantly white schools," says Younger. "The population for minorities, Blacks, was around 10-12%, so we lived with and went to school with our classmates, our white classmates, and went to school right on through. And for the most part, we got along pretty good ... we didn't witness a whole lot of overt racism. Quite frankly, there was a little underneath. Guys would have little scuffles every once in a while, but guys have scuffles anyway. So, it really was a darn near ideal situation ... The N-word may have been dropped, but that meant immediate fight. So you didn't hear too many N-words being dropped, so … but we suspected there were some issues behind that."
Younger read a letter he wrote to his now 27-year-old son. In the letter, he details the time before his son was a teenager, and how he and his family learned about a teenager who'd been shot by police when running away from them. The letter lays out how that incident made him talk to his son about what to do if he comes in contact with the police, what is commonly known in families with young Black sons as "The Talk."
Younger described the fear he lived, and still lives with, because, "Our fear's a real fear because we know the odds of something happening to them is greater than most."