Back in the mid 1990’s I worked for a well known conservative Christian organization. All employees of that organization were periodically required to spend a day ministering to those in need, in various ways. My role in one of those efforts was to be part of a crew that distributed food to those in need.
One of the people that I encountered that day, a very slightly built black woman, lived several blocks away from the place where we were handing out our boxes of food. The box I gave her was very heavy, so I offered to help her carry it back to her home. She gratefully accepted. She said it was only a block or two, so I didn’t worry about telling anyone what I was doing, since I figured I’d be back in just a few minutes.
We chatted as we walked along, she was quite an interesting person – but as we went on, I steadily became more and more nervous, Here I was, getting further and further away from my team, several blocks, in fact, in the middle of a one of the worst neighborhoods in the Tidewater region of Virginia. I was the only white anywhere in sight, and a red head at that! I knew that no one would be looking out for me when it was time to pack up and head back. So, I was likely to be stranded if I didn’t get back soon. I felt conspicuous, I felt alone, and I was afraid.