Harassment demonstrates why Hinsdale needs DEI

There is a debate in the editorial section of this paper about DEI — diversity, equity and inclusion — at Hinsdale schools. My experience this past weekend in the Grant Square parking lot reminded me why equity training is necessary for Hinsdale residents.

I grew up in Clarendon Hills, and was visiting this past weekend with my sister. We stopped at Kramer’s to pick up a fruit plate on a slow Sunday morning. I dropped her off at the entrance and idled outside with my blinkers on to prevent her from walking in the cold.

After 10 seconds, a middle-aged white man approached my front bumper, lingering and staring menacingly at me. The man glared at me and asked angrily, “Is this a special parking spot just for you?” I tried to explain that my sister didn’t have a coat, but he continued to stare threateningly as he entered the store.

I was not inconveniencing this man. I don’t know why he harassed me. Perhaps he is going through a rough time. However, he shouldn’t have taken his anger out on me. I’ve been assaulted in public, so I’m no stranger to the violence of men’s rage.

Even as a white woman driving a shiny rental car who visibly fits in with the privileged residents of Hinsdale, I felt threatened by his behavior. What if I were a person of color? Or driving an older, cheaper car? Would this man have been nastier? Become violent?

Hinsdale should embrace DEI so it can become a truly safe and welcoming place. — Elaine Kuckertz, Washington D.C., Hinsdale Central Class of 2009