“If They Take Dogs and Jews, They’ll Probably Take You…” #racism #black

It hadn’t dawned on me to warn landlords that we were Black but I guess that I should have…



Inspired by a true event…

Montreal, 1963.

“Sorry, we do have apartments for rent but we can’t risk having other tenants move out if you move in.”

I stood there with the baby sleeping in my arms while my other son peeked out from behind my skirt. He gave the middle-aged woman the same blank look that I was giving her. My husband was registering at the university so we were on our own to apartment hunt that day.

This was the third visit we had made in response to For Rent ads and it would be the third time we were turned away. It hadn’t dawned on me to warn landlords that we were Black but I guess that I should have – it would have saved my time and my little one’s feet.

Three times was not a charm.

Seeing the look of despair on my face, she tried to be helpful.

“Why don’t you try the building across the street, dear? They always have availability. If they take dogs and Jews, they’ll probably take you.”

And with that, the woman quietly shut her door.

©2017 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted February 28, 2016




47 thoughts on ““If They Take Dogs and Jews, They’ll Probably Take You…” #racism #black

  1. Wow! It’s hard to imagine what some people endure(d). We know what occurred in those times, but how could one woman look at another with her two children and turn them away? With such harsh words!


  2. Nowadays it’s probably illegal to behave in such a way. This post reminds me of a similar experience in the form of a poem by Nigerian Nobel prize winning poet Wole Soyinka when he was a student in the UK. My daughter is in the UK now as a student and we like that first she got a Sri Lankan boyfriend and now a half Chinese one. We raised her to be broad-minded.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There’s something really captivating about historical literature, whether fiction or not. I love it. And this little diamond that you have, touched me. Inspired me to want to write. Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree, it still lives on, but in a more settle way… I met a Butcher in Cornwall who refused to sell me bones for my dogs because of my French accent – and Im white. He clearly gave me the look “we don’t want your lot around here” and refused to serve me. There are hardly any black people in that part of the country. It’s very sad for them. They want to protect their precious cultural identity but they lack of the depth and richness of multiculturalism, what a shame. They don’t know it but they are missing out so much! .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Interview with Marquessa Matthews – Mandibelle16

  6. Pingback: “If They Take Dogs and Jews, They’ll Probably Take You…” #racism #black — Simply Marquessa | Matthews' Blog

  7. Pingback: Have to reblog as a great example of microfiction – Paper Beats World

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