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…