Dear Amy: I'm a col­lege stu­dent from the sub­urbs of San Francisco and am at­tend­ing col­lege in New York.

My best friend from school is visit­ing this sum­mer, and I couldn't be more ex­cit­ed! But I do have con­cerns.

In a time where peo­ple of color, es­pe­cial­ly men, are hav­ing the po­lice called on them for ev­er­y­thing from wait­ing for a friend in Star­bucks to tak­ing a nap in a com­mon area of a dorm build­ing, I am wor­ried a­bout my neighbors' po­ten­tial re­ac­tion to a man of color show­ing up in their pre­dom­i­nant­ly white sub­urb.

I have toy­ed with the i­de­a of mak­ing a post on ask­ing peo­ple to think twice be­fore pan­ick­ing, should they see my friend walk­ing down the street, but I know my coun­ty prides it­self on be­ing a lib­er­al and pro­gres­sive area, and I don't want to in­sult any­one.

I don't want to up­set my com­muni­ty by ac­cus­ing them of rac­ist be­hav­ior I have nev­er wit­nessed, but I want to make sure my friend feels safe and wel­come in the place I call home. Your sug­ges­tion?

Amy says: In re­cent neigh­bor­hood news, "neighbors" in a com­muni­ty sim­i­lar to yours called the po­lice be­cause they saw a black fire­fight­er (in u­ni­form) per­form­ing a safe­ty in­spec­tion in the neigh­bor­hood. The fire­fight­er's white (fe­male) col­league said that in the fu­ture, she would ac­com­pa­ny him on neigh­bor­hood sprin­kler checks, bas­i­cal­ly for his own safe­ty.

You should start this proc­ess by noti­fy­ing your friend that your neighbors are some­what like­ly to "pan­ic" and call the po­lice if he is bold en­ough to walk through the neigh­bor­hood while be­ing black.

Strange­ly, you seem to wor­ry more a­bout of­fending your neighbors by chal­len­ging their loft­y no­tions of them­selves than you do a­bout the risk posed to your friend if he walks through your neigh­bor­hood alone.

I have two sug­ges­tions: Chal­lenge your neighbors out loud to ac­tu­al­ly let a black man — any black man — walk through the neigh­bor­hood un­chal­lenged, not be­cause he is your spe­cial guest, but be­cause he is a human walk­ing down a side­walk.

Also, be hon­est with your friend a­bout the kind of com­muni­ty he would be visit­ing, and the phys­ic­al or psycho­logi­cal an­noy­ance he could face, sim­ply by be­ing there.

Can't please ev­er­y­one

Dear Amy: Last week­end, my sis­ter and I (who both live out of state with our young fami­lies) sur­prised my par­ents and one of my sis­ters with a vis­it to our home­town.

After­ward, one of my fa­ther's sis­ters sent a mes­sage stat­ing how dis­ap­point­ed she was to be left out. She said we should trav­el to see her when we're in our home state.

Be­tween them, my par­ents have eight sib­lings! We try to see them at large fam­i­ly events when we can see ev­ery­one at the same time, but our time is pre­cious, and this isn't how I want to use it.

I feel like this vio­lates boun­dar­ies, which my own par­ents strug­gle to re­spect.

I want to re­spond and ac­knowl­edge her feel­ings, but the fam­i­ly is too large to ac­com­mo­date these re­quests. Do you a­gree? It's also pos­si­ble her late-night mes­sage was writ­ten un­der the in­flu­ence.

Amy says: You don't state the word­ing your aunt used, but here's how I in­ter­pret her mes­sage: "I miss you! I'm so sorry I didn't get to see you! I wish you had also traveled to see me."

Is this boun­dary-cross­ing? I don't think so.

You need only re­spond: "I'm sorry we didn't get the chance to vis­it! But please re­mem­ber that we have eight aunts and uncles, and these vis­its home are stretched so thin. Look­ing for­ward to Christ­mas!"

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