The responses so far on this thread have mostly been restricted to "Well, I'M all for black men carrying guns and support people of all colors carrying weapons, etc." While these are admirable sentiments, they don't really address 100%s concerns as the original post expresses them.
Here's the situation in LA as I've experienced it. There is a fair amount of racism here. My black friends have more "hassled by the cops" stories then my white friends (though both have more then in some other places I've lived over the years). Carrying a gun would supply police with a reason (in their minds) to give you crap, especially if they were already looking for a reason. It's not pretty, but there it is.
It seems like you're trying to decipher how much of your neighbor's reactions were due to the simple presence of a weapon, and how much it may or may not have been compounded by your skin color. It could be either or both that bothered them. The fact that they're new neighbors would make it tricky to determine. I know people who are racists who wouldn't be bothered by a gun, and I know people who aren't racists who are terrified of the thought of a gun in the same room as them.
It seems to me that you already know the answer to your concern. As you said, you're "not so ignorant or naive" as to blame people's reactions entirely on either variable.
One has to choose ones battles wisely. It's up to you to determine if this issue is important enough to you to stick out your neck to support. If you do, you've come to the right place. The folks here fight a common battle, and we're all comrades-in-arms (no pun intended,
One last thought. I am admittedly new to carrying openly (you can see my thread "Starting small)." However I've discovered one important thing already. When those people staring at your hip finally peel their eyes away from your weapon, they're going to look at your face. If, when they get to that point, they see a friendly smile and wave, it's often the first step to easing their concerns. At least it's worked for me so far. Have you seen or spoken with your neighbors since the incident you described? Do you think your greeting had any discernable positive effect?
Disclaimer: I AM a girl (another minority on this website). The friendly smile may or may not be an effective tactic for guys (and blowing kisses is DEFINATELY out, lol). You'll have to try it out and let me know!
Welcome to OCDO. Hope to see you around! (Both here and on the street, yaaay OCers!)