You don’t even KNOW me!!

Hope all of you have had a good week! I just returned from a conference in Texas, and it was so gratifying to hear people speak of this blog, and to hear their stories. So, we may definitely affect our world in a positive way, week by week..

As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. tomorrow, I thought this particular story and challenge would be most appropriate.

I have lived most of my life in Mississippi – a beautiful state, filled with wonderful people. I am quite aware of the horrible reputation that our state has across the nation. For example, there is not one, educated person in the state that a newscaster could ask to comment on a recent tornado. Nope, it has to be someone with three teeth, spitting tobacco, stating, “Yep, I heared it come over the roof of the trailer…(spit) sounded like a freight train…(spit) we all got in the tub….”  Or, most people think that every single person in the state is prejudiced. So, I would like to correct a few misconceptions. 

Like most states we have the good, the bad, and the ugly…however, I, like numerous others, was not raised to be prejudiced. I was taught that we were all God’s creations, and that none of us were better (or worse) than anyone else. It offends me to be given a negative label, especially when it is simply based on where I lived. I’ve actually been “flipped off” by someone in another car, passing by on the interstate, just because I had a Mississippi state license plate. I wanted to roll down my window and scream: “You don’t even know me!” Course, if I had done that, I could have gotten shot, or worse…so some things best left unsaid…The point I am trying to make is this: why do we make those needless judgements based on color of skin, or an accent, or a geographic location, or anything?

Recently, I went to a local play, “Ragtime.” The plot covered a number of issues during a certain time period of our country – unions/strikes/unfair treatment of women and certain ethnic groups. During the play, part of the dialogue included calling one of the African American characters “nigger.” It had been so long since I had heard that awful name, that I flinched as if I had been slapped. I noticed that almost everyone around me did the same…a flinch and audible gasp. And I thought to myself, how WONDERFUL!! They were as offended and appalled as I was. So… just for this week, I will make an extra effort to reflect the feelings of my heart when I encounter anyone of a different race, ethnic group, or culture than “mine.” I will try to convey that all I see is another human being…period!! I was not raised with prejudice and I want others to know that truth in my actions each day. Won’t you join me? Just for this week…

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5 thoughts on “You don’t even KNOW me!!

  1. Mary Harold says:

    During my sophomore year in college I was chosen to be part of a Work and Witness Team. I was so excited! I pictured the different countries that I might be sent to to help spred the Word of God. I was so excited and looking forward to my adventure. Finally the letter came telling me of my assignment. I opened the envelope and my jaw dropped to the floor!! This 18 year old little Mississippi girl was being sent to Watts, an African American neighborhood outside of Los Angelos, California. I was scared to death! This is where the racial riots had been not too many years previous. Personally I had Never been prejudiced but I didn’t know how I would be received. I went to Golden, Colorada and received my training then flew off to my unknown summer. As I flew I knew God was there before me so I knew I would be OK. Little did I know how much work God had already done ahead of me. When we were assigned to the families of the church where we would be staying I was assigned to the Joneses. In getting to know them I met the father, Mr. Jones. I wanted to be accepted and effective at my assignment but he didn’t know me. As we talked I felt at ease for some reason, it was then that he shared with me that he tooo was from Mississippi. No this man did not know me but God had gone before me and prepared my way. I praise God for that summer!!

    • Cat Selman says:

      The more we travel outside our own “comfort zone,” the more educated, compassionate, understanding, empathetic, tolerant, patient and caring we become…We are all in this together! So proud of you for having the courage to face your fears and help others!

    • Jo Beth Crout says:

      Mary, I enjoyed reading your article. It is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing this experience in your life.

      Beth Crout

  2. Grace Chavez says:

    I just wanted to say hello from texas.thank you for a wonderful conference. No we all dont wear cowboy hats and wear boots.lol it so awesome to hear you speak.

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