My Family and I were on walk in the park one sunday afternoon. We drove to Westfield, the park over there is much nicer. It was around the time in autumn when the landscape was just starting to display the much-anticipated colorful New England foliage. Due to some event, there were more people in the park than a usual sunday afternoon, especially considering how unseasonably cool it was that day. I was in a very good mood that day, enjoying the weather and the company of my family. There was a swan sitting by the pond, and it actually allowed us to pet it! It was a great day.
I was greeting most passerby with a polite smile. One woman stopped; an older lady walking a little black dog. The kind that looks like a hot dog. She stared at me for a moment; and when I noticed, I offered a cheerful “good afternoon”
I still get a little uneasy engaging with strangers no matter who they are, But today, I was either not aware of my usual prohibitions, or just was not inhibited by them as I would usually be. The woman regarded me for moment, then turned to my daughter and admired how pretty she was. My Wife and I thanked her. I noticed the woman was doting…in both senses of the word. So I let this somewhat strange engagement persist for longer than I usually would.
But,..Then she started asking about us… things like, where you from, are you married…normal questions; but, she was asking in manner that made me feel like I was being interviewed for job I did not want. Now im shooting auxiliary glances to my wife. I’m ready to get on with day.
“How tall are you?” …she asks.
I answer. hesitating ever so slightly
Then, she started to tell us about catching a glimpse of the man who stole her lawn mower from her backyard… that’s when I suddenly realized what this whole encounter was about…
I fit the description.
I also suddenly realized that I was wearing a hoodie; in an upscale park, surrounded by people who don’t look like me. I quickly rebuilt the invisible wall I had left in Springfield. The wall of hyper-awareness about my own identity. The one that protects me from going new places , meeting new people, or just trying new things, without “Extreme vetting”. A wall of fear. It was nice to forget about my identity for that brief time though.
Fortunately for me, Among my fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, I have a place where my race is of no consequence. And I know I am welcome. I enjoy the friendship and trust of people of all races and backgrounds, without reservation.
Unfortunately, there are many people today on November 9th, here in the United states, who don’t feel they have the freedom to be who they are. People who dare not go some places without having a good excuse. People who just feel that they are not welcome.
On March 21, 2012, U.N. secretary-general Ban ki-moon stated: “There are many valuable treaties and tools, as well as a comprehensive global framework-to prevent and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Nevertheless, racism continues to cause suffering for millions of people around the world the world”
On November 9, 2016, The United States population woke to the harsh reality that its political machine would not provide the unity it so desperately needs. It is going to take something more to reach the hearts and minds of the population.
I believe that something more is found in the pages of the bible.
Psalms 46 verse 9 says “He is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;…”
Acts 10:34 says “God is not partial”.
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