While driving home from work today a tire goes flat, so I have to turn into the parking lot of a small store. After realizing that I didn’t have a spare, I text my wife, letting her know what happened and where I was so that she can come and pick me up. While waiting for her to come, I get out the tire iron and the jack so that I can take the flat tire off. Once that’s done I realize that I probably need to tell the people in the store what’s going on. As I’m walking toward the glass door, I notice the two middle-aged caucasian women behind the counter; so I flash my friendly smile and grab the door handle.
The door is locked! So I glance down at the store hours. “They shouldn’t be closed,” I say in my head.
*CLANK – CLANK*
By this time one of the lady is at the door. She unlocks it and opens the door just wide enough to hear me say, “I have a flat tire and my wife is on her way to pick me up. I’m going to have to leave my car here while I go get a tire but we’ll be right back.”
She replies, “That’s ok,” closes the door and locks it back!
REALLY?! I MEAN REALLY?!!!
I am a pastor. My name and face is always in the paper for our church work and community service. I am an upstanding citizen and well-respected in many circles. I own two cars and my own home. But, just in case I had forgotten, to some people, I am just another big, black scary looking guy.
What if I had been a paying customer? What if I had been their highest commission of the day? Couldn’t they see I was in distress? None of that mattered much, because the lady told my wife when we came back, “It’s nothing against you all, but it’s just our policy, since we were robbed at knifepoint. We’re just two ladies you know.”
As much as we would like to believe that racism, classism, sexism, and prejudice have been eradicated from our society, the truth is that some people are afraid for their lives just simply because of the way I look. By no means am I suggesting that we don’t trust our instincts and protect ourselves from potential danger, but at the same time we have to be mindful of our own prejudices. It is still wrong to assume something about a person based on their race, class, sex, ect.
There is really no way for me to end this blog post without sounding like “The Angry Black Guy” so I’ll just say, Father, touch the hearts of people.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, 1963
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