His racist words shocked me, “I don’t want a NEGRO to live within a stone’s throw of my house.” Did I really hear racism? No, I couldn’t have! His children were sitting around the table with him along with his wife, and their friends.
I listened closely. If the man said anything else about black people, I was going to speak up. Because I still wasn’t sure that was the word I heard, the “N” word.
The people at his table – his friends – didn’t correct him.
Then more racism vomited from his mouth.
“If they do move in beside me, I better have trees between my house and theirs because I don’t want to see them.”
I went through my brain to see if there was a word that rhymes with the “N” word? I didn’t want to make a fool of myself if that wasn’t what he said.
Racism is alive and blazing in North America.
The surprising thing about hearing these hateful words? I was on a cruise ship, and a large portion of the people on the ship were black. Our stateroom attendant, Jack, was from Jamaica, and he was friendly, kind and hardworking.
How on earth, was a man full of racism allowed on the ship?
There should be a detector in security that scans your spiritual baggage:
I know what your thinking, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a horrible parent.
A good parent doesn’t teach their children racism or to hate other people for a trait they were born with and have no control over.
For a moment, I imagined the racist man as a little boy sitting at his father’s table listening to this same garbage. It may have been woven into his very being from toddlerhood; by the words spoken by his daddy.
Then I wondered what it would take to change his mind. Could his racist words and mind be changed at all? Or was he too far into the deep pit of racism lies; that he could never see the truth?
Could what happened to me, be the first little spark of truth he could grab onto and begin to ascend out of the pit of racism:
My husband Vance and I went out for lunch one day. The table next to ours was occupied by three very tall and well built, black men. Our community doesn’t have a lot of black people, so when we do see them, people often stare.
As I was leaving the restaurant and walked by their table, one of the young men said something to me. I didn’t hear what he said, so I said, “Pardon me?”
“Miss, you left your phone on the table.”
“Oh, thank you, so much!”
He smiled at me.
He could have easily taken my phone and sold it for a few hundred dollars. I had an iPhone8.
But he blessed me instead.
I know lots of white boys in my community that would have stolen my phone.
The racist man on the cruise ship could have even stolen my phone. He hated certain people, and that almost seemed worse than stealing.
I was reading a book in my deck chair, on the ship.
“Nice book cover,” a male voice said to me.
I looked up; it was a security guard. He smiled at me.
The cover of my book said, Just Open The Door. By Jen Schmidt.
“What’s your book about?” asked the black man.
We got into a long conversation about God, most of which I didn’t understand due to his accent. Ivan was from South Africa and looked to be about 50 years old. He wept a few times as he explained the need for his people to believe in God.
The conversation ended with Ivan grabbing my hand and praying for my son Kyle who has severe autism.
He blessed me.
We finally made it to land. We were in Miami and found Louis, the blind man I had written about in the past: The Blind Man Who Didn’t Want A Miracle. Louis is also black and walks the streets of Miami with his stick and his dog. He asked me about Kyle. Louis grabbed my hand and prayed for Kyle. He went on a long speech about God’s love, and how He wants to make Kyle well.
This black man spoke blessings over me.
The man dripping with racism on the cruise didn’t want any of these men living next to him; A man who protects other peoples possessions, a security guard who prays for people to find God, and a blind man who prays for people to be healed.
Because of their skin color.
Who would you want as a neighbour; the racist white man, or one of these three black men who cared about a white lady?
Are you prejudice? Do you hate a certain race? Do you spit out racism with pride?
Did you grow up in a home that taught you to hate? Or did someone of a certain colour hurt you and you lumped in everyone else of the same colour?
Who do you hate: Men, women, Asians, Blacks, Indians, First Nations, Pakistans, Muslims, Whites, African Americans, Germans, Jews, Christians…people who are fat, skinny, blue eyed, brown eyed, rich, or poor?
If I hated the man who spewed out these terrible, racist words, I am just as guilty.
The racist man could have been me if I grew up in a different home. But I was brought up by a mother who had friends of many nationalities.
Mom was also friends with drunks, prostitutes, drug addicts, poor, homeless, Blacks, First Nations, and Whites.
Humans. People. Sons and daughters. Hurt. Broken. Happy. Sad.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
When that man lumped all black people into one category, he was small-minded.
RACISM; to take a corner of our hateful mind and entrap one people group in there, lock the door, and throw away the key.
Wars were fought over hate. Graveyards are full of prejudice. Mother’s weep this week because their children were killed for being Christians in Sri Lanka.
Children were killed because of prejudice.
Where’s the love?
What happened to acceptance?
Did kindness disappear from our planet?
Have we all become haters?
We are despising those who are different, who don’t conform, who don’t fit our small-minded mould?
How many times has someone made you feel like you are not enough; not rich enough, pretty enough, smart enough, white enough, talented enough, or conformed enough.
We’ve all experienced prejudice or racism; you felt the pain when it was your turn.
Stop the HATE.
LOVE people. Be KIND. And ACCEPT others.
Teach this to your children as you sit at your table, as you walk the path, as you work alongside one another.
Change the world one child at a time. Make it a beautiful place all humans can live; side by side, without prejudice or racism.
Just LOVE each other.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
-Revelation 7: 9-10
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