BALTIMORE, JULY 21 -- "They just look at you like you're not supposed to be here," said a soft-spoken black woman as she folded clothes in a tidy coin laundry in Baltimore's nearly all-white Highlandtown section.

The woman kept her voice low, conscious of the occasional glares she was receiving from the laundry's only other customer, a middle-aged white woman.

"It's terrible here," said the black woman, an insurance benefits specialist who said she did not want to give her name. She is frightened by recent incidents of racial violence, but she said, "You can't just sit around and not go places because of that." She likes the big dryers at the Eastern Avenue laundry and intends to keep going there.

Down the block, a black man walking with his white girlfriend was critically injured Thursday night after being taunted by a group of white men and chased into the path of an oncoming truck. Some white Highlandtown residents have said publicly that the man, 38-year-old Herbert Jennings, was courting trouble by openly dating a white woman.

That attack occurred the day after a group of whites in Remington, another predominantly white neighborhood, fatally stabbed one black man and beat his companion in a dispute over a pay telephone.

Some Baltimore residents interviewed today said they think the city has serious racial problems; others said they believe the races live reasonably well together. Most echoed the views of one woman who said, "I just hope it will blow over so everybody can live in peace."

"Compared to other cities like New York, I don't think Baltimore is too bad," said 37-year-old Jin Kim, a South Korean printer with a business downtown. "We try to communicate with other ethnic groups, with blacks."

There have been other racial incidents in Baltimore in the recent past. Two white men were convicted of civil rights violations and sentenced to prison last year for harassing a black family that moved into the city's mostly white, working-class Hampden area. More recently, Skinheads threatened to stage demonstrations in Hampden, only to be forced to back down by community leaders.

Pat Schaum lives in Highlandtown, on a block of identical, neatly kept formstone row houses. The attack on Jennings took place near her home.

She deplored the attack, she said. "We're surprised that it happened, not so much the prejudice part, but that the kids would do something so stupid," she said. "Maybe I'm the only person in this area not prejudiced."

Across the street from the City Lights bar, where the attack occurred, another Highlandtowner offered his thoughts. "I'm pro-equal rights, but not interracial marriages," he said. "When your daughter or son grows up and runs with a big black guy or a girl, what are you going to do?" he asked a buddy.

Police have charged Daniel Porter, 21, with assault in connection with the attack on Jennings.

Across town, in Remington, tempers were cooler.

Donald Haviland, a white 16-year-old, said the suspects in that incident are "troublemakers" who have problems with drugs and alcohol. "Those guys would mess with anybody," he said.

Remington is a depressed, 40-block enclave home to about 3,000 people, many of them descended from Appalachian migrants. In the past few years, blacks have begun to move into the neighborhood.

Some people there -- black and white -- said they do not believe the slaying earlier in the week was racially motivated. Police have charged John Edwin Mooney, 28, with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the Remington incident.

Police Officer Steven Lurz, who has patrolled Remington for 16 years, said despite the neighborhood's tough reputation, he does not believe racial intolerance is widespread there. "There are a few bad apples who do not like the black people," he said. "As a whole there is racial harmony."

But Alfred DePastina, a retired state social worker who has lived in Remington 45 years, is not so sanguine. "This is a poor neighborhood -- the whites don't have jobs . . . . {Blacks} are very arrogant. They want everything."

Wayne Jones, a 38-year-old black man who owns an auto repair shop and lives near Remington, said he has been on the receiving end of racially derogatory comments from whites, often in minor traffic disputes.

"Racism in this town is a reality," he said. "It just does not seem like we are moving with the times."