If you’ve watched Lovecraft Country, then you might remember when Leti moved into a white Chicago neighborhood with her sister and friends. The neighbors put up warning signs, tied bricks to the steering wheels of cars and burned a cross on the lawn during her housewarming party.
Some viewers may have watched that and thought the harassment was overdone for the show, but in real life, Black people absolutely do have racist neighbors from Hell.
Just ask the Martinez family from Virginia Beach.
According to CNN, Jannique Martinez, who is Black, said her neighbor has been playing loud music, monkey sounds, skits with racial slurs and using bright, blinking lights.
“We noticed a little erratic behavior like these blinking lights that are on a sensor. When my family or any other family leaves or returns to their homes, they all start to blink,” Martinez said. “When the sensors are activated, loud music begins to play. He switches the music based on the family that is activating the music.”
Martinez added that there are multiple cameras on his house.
“We are all on surveillance 24/7 with cameras in every direction of his home,” she said.
Most recently, Martinez said, the music switched to monkey sounds.
“My husband parked his truck on the street in front of his house, which is city property, and instead of music, he started playing monkey noises,” Martinez said.
Martinez also told CNN that the neighbor plays skits that say: “Black people have nothing better to do but go to a comedy club on a Friday night,” and, “Hey everyone, look it’s N——- guy. Everyone say, ‘hi N——- guy.’”
The Virginian-Pilot reports that Martinez and her family moved into the neighborhood five years ago and have dealt with their neighbor’s antics for the majority of that time. The family called the police about the lights and noise, but officers told her there was nothing they can do.
“The observed conduct has been reviewed with the City Attorney for potential criminal sanctions; however, it was determined that the activity, though appalling, is not criminally actionable,” the Virginia Beach Police Department said in a statement, according to CNN.
Both CNN and the Pilot contacted the neighbor for comment but did not hear back.
Karen Quick and her husband, who also live in the neighborhood, told the Pilot that they both heard racial slurs come from the neighbor’s speaker on separate occasions. Martinez went to the Virginia Beach Magistrate Office and also filed a civil complaint in court but neither yielded results. So she gave Quick permission to post a recording on Facebook:
The Magistrate office did not respond to the Pilot’s request for comments, but Virginia Beach’s city attorney sent its reporters this ordinance, outlining the city’s response to noise disturbances. Last Friday, Quick, Martinez and roughly 25 others gathered on the street chanting “spread love, not hate.”
“I hope the commonwealth finds a way to protect people from situations like this,” Martinez told the Pilot, “Your Black and brown people are important. I feel like if maybe it were the flip side, and (we) were a white family, I feel I would’ve gotten way further already.”