What the Murder of George Floyd Means to Me as a Truckee Resident

1

BY ROB WATTS | Moonshine Ink

I have lived in the area for the past 10 years. We all know that most people consider our community to be in a bubble, isolated from real world issues such as social injustice, murder, and high crime rates. Now that the news of George Floyd’s murder has reached a local level, I would like to share my opinion as an African American living in this rural area.

I was born and raised in and around the Bay Area, surrounded by many different cultures, ideas and political backgrounds. There was never the term POC.

Now, I live in Truckee where less than 2% of the population is African American. Every day, I have to consider my reactions and responses to the things I encounter. People are amused with my curly hair, are surprised when I speak “skier” lingo, and often people ask, “Do you only date white women?” While fairly progressive, Truckee is still a town that is very homogeneous, which makes it difficult to understand and communicate with those who are racially and ethnically different, forcing assumptions on what it’s like to be “black.”

Systemic racism has plagued our country for decades. Unfortunately, due to the murder of George Floyd, this worldwide issue has now been brought to the forefront of all of our lives. I don’t know how to react, I feel uncomfortable. As a minority I feel misrepresented. Can I trust our nation’s leaders to truly protect and serve me, when history shows that they have failed over the years? Although laws have been signed into action and legislation has been approved, the facts are still there; unemployment rates, wealth disparity, education, and criminal justice all show disproportionate numbers toward African American people. How do we fix this?

I am happy that our community is aware of social injustice. It is truly inspiring that so many people in Truckee/Tahoe were committed to the protest on #blackouttuesday but I am concerned: Will this movement continue once the media covers these protests less and less as time goes on? The representation of black culture has not been a relevant issue since I have lived here. I believe the time is now to start these conversations of being inclusive.

It’s clear that this country has reached its boiling point. Enough is enough. People deserve fairness and we deserve equal opportunities. The time is now, to look at the real picture; just because an individual has an ethnic background does that individual really deserve to be treated with prejudice?

~ After attending college at California State University, Chico, Robert Watts moved to Truckee in the summer of 2010. As the head chef at Drunken Monkey Sushi, Robert has established a notable reputation around town and enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and spending time with friends at local breweries.

1 COMMENT

  1. People from the Bay Area do not know the Tahoe Area. He may be a resident but is not from Truckee. He knows the Bay Area. Being from Truckee, the Bay Area has no backbone and so is not homogeneous. The Bay Area population considers accessible non Bay Area populations as submissive, especially in business. In the Tahoe Area where people who are from here know each other, being black is not victimization by race, it bluntly is obvious you are a transplant. Over the last few decades the Tahoe Area has used it’s unique community spirit to welcome tourists. Yes a tourist is someone from the Bay Area or elsewhere, and anyone who’s been here longer than just 10 years knows the relatively recent infrastructure has been developed for turning ski areas into resorts for tourists and accommodating vacation home owners who are forever disconnected from nature and are in favor of adding neighborhoods that are private and blocked off to the population. To have people not from Truckee tell us the race card is another shallow way for urban people to peel back the layers of our sheltered town. People in the bay area make global companies like rideshare, and considering even the backlash Uber and Lyft receive from around the locale of their headquarters, there is an impact not only on the bay area communities but regions foreign to the bay area counties such as the Tahoe Area. It is inflicted by the Bay Area because that is where the companies are from and there there is no competition in the Tahoe Area because taxis in the Tahoe Area is not a Tahoe thing. When people in Truckee can tell someone is not from the Tahoe Area, there is always skepticism about how the person represents our area. Solve hypocrisy in places foreign to the Tahoe Area and us locals won’t have to implicitly regulate how much outsiders can affect where we live, what we represent and how we operate. I can tell you that people from the Tahoe Area don’t want to be submissive to outside forces telling us what to do. To reduce what people think of someone in the Tahoe Area down to race, is obnoxious. It is an assumption that the color of someone’s skin is what makes us different. What makes us different is where we’re from, for where we’re from is what we truly know. Tahoe locals don’t want to be impacted by tourists or transplants as we welcome them. Please do not tell us where you live or what you deal with there, because it changes how we can enjoy this place and creates obstacles in maintaining Truckee Pride.