I live in an urban neighborhood and my front door is very near the sidewalk. One evening last summer, I was inside my house and realized that I hadn't locked the door (we typically keep it locked for safety). As I turned the bolt, I unthinkingly glanced out the window of my door. Just at the moment that the deadbolt made its loud "ka-chunk" sound, I realized with horror that I was making direct eye contact with an African-American male who happened to be walking by at that moment. It totally appeared as if I, a white female, was intentionally locking the door out of fear that he was dangerous as I stared at him through the window. My impulse was to unlock the door, run onto the porch, and explain that I wasn't afraid of him and was so glad to be sharing a neighborhood together. But I was afraid that doing so would just make matters worse. (Verbalizing any version of "I'm not afraid of black males" seemed to have the potential of being a further micro-aggression...) In the split second I had to make that decision before he was gone, I froze and did nothing. I wouldn't blame the guy for chalking this experience up as another experience of racism from paranoid white people, and I wonder what you would advise that I had done.
Thanks for your insight,