The other day while eating lunch, a person from the past walked over and said, “May I sit down?” And I said, “Of course.”
He almost instantly started a conversation about race and police killing young Blacks and continued by stating, “I hate all White folks.”
Once I got a chance to respond, I said, “First of all, you don’t know all White people and you would do well to find a church home.” Now, he’s really agitated. He says, “I go to church every Sunday, I am a Christian who is working on the building (striving to improve himself),” and we both laughed.
Now he begins to expound on why he hates all White people and I really was familiar with all of the arguments, but I listened. Father was beaten up by racism in the workplace and it affected his ability to provide for his family. The school system was second; all of the teachers, counselors, janitors were White and had no interest in helping Blacks take full advantage of the educational system. The next step in his career was joining the U.S. Marines and racism was rampant there. Third, he began to focus on slavery, slave masters of yesteryear and modern versions of slave masters. Now he concludes by saying how things have changed, but regretfully too much remains the same, but Hop, “believe me, I am working on the building.”
My wife and I were guests at an interracial dinner that consisted of 16 persons, 10 White and six Black. After dining it was conversation time and it eventually got around to race issues. A certain guest was the most outspoken and discussed it at length about his involvement in the local organization and how long he had served as an officer. It was my first time that we had been invited so I was somewhat reluctant to engage in a conversation about race, so I just listened and allowed another Black male guest who they knew to reply.
However, the professed Christian exposed himself when he used the code word, “YOU PEOPLE are confusing,” and that is when it became my opportunity to clarify the confusion. The questions I asked were basic—how many Blacks attend your church? Does the minister ever expound on solutions to the racial problems? Are there any Black neighbors of yours or any in the school system? How many Blacks are employed at your workplace? Have you or any of the other officers ever suggested to your minister to address the congregation about working to improve the racial situation? Does it disturb you about the fact that in your lifestyle, every facet is totally White?
I then explained to him how the word “picnic” came into our vocabulary. It was important that I remind him about the fact that the Crusades killed two million infidels, and last but not least I reminded all of them that when the KKK was killing, burning, etc., there were the Klan chaplains riding with them. I did not want to abuse the fact that I was a first-time guest so I just slowed down, but a guest asked, “Why are you not angry or full of hate?” My response was simply, “I am the son of a Christian family who instilled in all of us God’s greatest commandment; LOVE.”
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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