To the nice black man with the sweet little family in the grocery store parking lot today:
I just want you to know that I softly wept on the way home.
When I walked out to my car, you were helping your family get out of yours. You had parked just to the left of me, and as I approached my trunk with my groceries, I was smiling when I saw you.
I saw what you did next.
You had already started to turn to help your young son, but then you stopped, changed direction, and intentionally set your attention squarely on me. You met my smile with your own and then a kind, "Hey! How you doin'?"
This really is a fairly common exchange between decent people. But for some reason, the obnoxious touts of racism that are thrust on decent people via the media these days have really been very suffocating.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that racism is still alive and well in the hearts of some people in this country - and that's true on both sides. But the level to which the problem is elevated for political and propaganda purposes is about as nauseating as it gets. Half the time people are afraid to even use the COLORS black or white (as in fabric or paint) for fear of offending someone.
Now, Sir, I would not say that I have ever actually believed what I'm about to say. I've known many people, black and white, who absolutely do not fit this. But I will admit that there are times when I wonder...times when I've listened too much to the perpetual droning on about how much hate is on both sides. There have been times when I've wondered if every black person that sees me despises me because of my skin color. I've wondered, "What do they think of me? Do they think I hate them because of their skin?" Do you think those thoughts, too?
You know, when you're told "they hate you" enough, you start to wonder.
And then I see someone like you. Someone who went out of his way to greet another person just as an equal, as a fellow human being. Because we are exactly that.
And then I realize that the propaganda machine has succeeded only in making stories that are so sparse and infrequent into these major headlines to get us to click on that link. And if we're not careful, we believe the problem is bigger than it really is.
Again, not saying there aren't changes that should be made. But I think most of the problems are with the political and propaganda engines more than within the hearts of most people.
Thank you, Sir, for reminding me of that.
My encounter with you and your family today was like a cool drink of water to me.
Cleansing. Healing. Refreshing.