The conversation between myself and a young black man

young black man

Sometimes life puts you in a situation where you really are in a quandary. That was where I found myself last night at Walmart.

The title of this post is exactly how I meant it to read because the young man was black and I’m white and that’s what makes this story interesting.

Yesterday I told you I was going to become a gourmet cook.  (In my own mind anyway.) You’ll see my masterpiece later this week along with the recipe. But I’m also a fashion designer.

Seriously, though, I am a seamstress. At one point, I altered men’s clothes for a department store. But I haven’t sewn any garments for myself in years. I wanted some cute dirndl skirts for the summer and wasn’t about to pay the price I’ve seen for them. I also knew that because I hadn’t sewn any clothes for a long time, I should probably get some very inexpensive fabric to experiment with. I went to JoAnn’s but even with a coupon, I felt the fabric was too expensive and I didn’t like any of it anyway.

S-0-o-o- a trip to Walmart was in order.

I found some fabric but another woman was ahead of me. When someone finally showed up to help us out, it was a young black man. Now, let’s be honest, men are not who you typically see cutting fabric but there he was.

I noticed the woman was especially pleasant towards him and I wondered if she were trying extra hard to let him know she wasn’t a racist, especially because just today in my own state there was yet another fatal shooting.

Then it was my turn. We had a very pleasant conversation and I found myself really wondering if we should “have the talk” that we’ve been hearing about all over the news.

I wanted to ask, “Are you afraid to be pulled over by a cop?” If I had and if he’d said yes, I would’ve have told him I was very sorry to hear that and I wish it wasn’t that way.

I came so close.

But I didn’t. Instead, we talked about what he was majoring in at our local community college. I told him he picked a really good profession. He said he was a bad “folder” to which I responded,  “Here, let me fold and you just cut”. We ended our conversation pleasantly.

As I walked away, I wondered if I should’ve said something.

But you know what? I’m really happy I didn’t.

For one thing, he was an employee at the time and might have felt compelled to talk with me. He also might have felt he couldn’t be as honest because he was working.

Were all three of us trying too hard?

Absolutely not. That’s exactly what we should be dong now, trying hard. Trying to be extra polite, extra kind. Does that mean we’ve abdicated our own views?  Of course not. It just means we can acknowledge our differences while still being polite.

I felt really good as the evening wore on. Each of us had injected a little piece of kindness into humanity. We chinked away a little at the barrier between us. The wall crumbled a little bit for the three of us.

Is that little exchange going to change the world? I don’t know. But what I do know is that if we all did this all the time, we could change the world.

God bless and I hope you get a chance to chink away today as well.

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