It was five in the morning. Our new neighbor’s goldendoodles had taken to a bark-off in the backyard — a loud, gruff, competitive song with no hook and no end. I shuffled around the house that morning, hours before it was time to hit the snooze button, grumbling about calling the homeowner’s association or animal control. My husband calmly reminded me to take less drastic measures and do what I do best: Take it to social media.
I presented the matter to my loyal Facebook cosigners, who quickly dittoed my “terrible neighbors” sentiment with angry and wow reacts and comments. That wasn’t enough. I needed to narrow down my network and plead my case to the people who know the local ins and outs, the policies, and how to escalate things around here. I needed the rest of my neighbors.
Months after we moved in, we received a paper invitation on our door to join Nextdoor, a neighborhood-based social networking app. Search, install, input the invitation code and, all of a sudden, the close yet inaccessible world of my subdivision opened up to me. These are my neighbors.
That’s when I saw it. Among the posts announcing lost dogs and the requests for babysitting and the lawn care recommendations, there was the thinly veiled racism. The coded posts about “suspicious people” that were actually just black and brown folks the poster had decided couldn’t possibly be living in this community and minding their own business.
“Two men said they’re detailing vehicles on site. Sounds fishy. I have them on video!” the top post read.
“Call the authorities. Super suspicious.”
“That sounds super sketchy.”
The comments were rolling in. These were my neighbors. “Why was this sketchy? Were they looking at your vehicle?” I commented. No answer.
I respond because it feels like my duty to inform these neighbors, and possibly protect my fellow neighbors of color from a dangerous…