Today I decided to wash my truck for the first time since I purchased it. There are restaurants a short walk away, so I decided to take the short walk and have lunch while I waited. Well, I walk into the the restaurant and place my order at the bar. As I walk towards the door leading me to my outside seating ( my preference) I passed a table where 4 older white men sat awaiting their food. At least, I assume. Three of the four men were quite engaged in a conversation amongst each other while one of them looked at me from head to toes in disgust. As he continued to stare, I (in jolly ol’ Ebony fashion) decided to speak in spite of the hate that spewed from his eyes. “Hey, How are you?!” He looked away without a single acknowledgement of my salutation. Sigh. My emotional response to this actually surprised me. My feelings were hurt. I wanted to leave the restaurant as I no longer felt comfortable. Perhaps this is an understood emotion for some, but during my 35 years of living, I have actually experienced more than my share of racism. In my younger years, I felt bothered. As I grew to understand that racism came from a place of ignorance and hate, I no longer allowed it to personally bother me. It was just one of those things, I guess. As I sat at the table awaiting my food, I reached out to a good friend of mine and I shared my experience. This was the response.
“Some people aren’t susceptible to the good in the world. All you have to share is love until someone shows you otherwise. Who would hate that?” My response was, “A racist. lol”
I have to admit that I was bothered. I found myself angry for a moment. I watched a table full of white people a few tables down from me and I wondered if they felt the same way as the guy inside. Midway through my lunch, that group of people finished their lunch, finalized their bill and headed towards my direction as they departed. Still a bit bothered from the guy on the inside, I had no intentions of speaking to the passerbyers. Well guess what? They spoke to me. They all spoke to me and even told me to enjoy my day. Damn. Now I felt guilty. I allowed the hatred of one person make me feel away about a entire race. Now, I’m sure it wouldn’t have lasted long as it isn’t in my nature. My entire life, the military has kept me surrounded by all different races so there is no place for that sort of hate in my life.
My Take Away:
Racism is VERY present. So is ignorance. While we have no control over the existence of it, we play a vital role in the continuation of it. I allowed this man to make me feel inferior. I allowed him to (TEMPORARILY) alter my natural response to… people in general no matter their race. For a very small moment in time, I allowed hate to take the power of love away from me. You see, there was one man that exhibited hatred towards me. Their were about 15 or so other people in the same setting that were very pleasant. I am not now, nor have I ever been ignorant to the evil that exists in this world and I truly believe that the evil we see only exists in a small percentage compared to the good in the world. Continue to spread love! Continue to vibrate such good energy that you have the power to shift the mood in any room. Light will always win over darkness.
PS- For anyone thinking that I may have read the man wrong, when I went back inside to pay for my bill, he exhibited the same exact behavior towards me. He was smiling as he spoke to his friends. When he saw me, it completely went away.
Oh and… lunch was GREAT by the way!