Over the years as my hair grays I come to a better understanding of reality. Several occurrences have drastically changed my perspective. The first was being accused, undeservingly by many leaders in the community, as “racist”. This caused me to take a serious look at myself, my thoughts, perceptions, my actions and the root of those actions. It was a drastic wake up call for me as to how ones very proper actions can be perceived by others, based on their perspective, as something totally different from your intent or reality.
My father’s parents and my parents took great pains for me and my siblings to grow up to accept people as equals no matter the color of their skin. We were taught to judge people by there actions not by their actual or perceived position in society. You might not be able to accept this, but several of the men I looked up to as a child and teenager were black men I grew up working beside of. One of these men in particular I respected as much, if not more than my father or grandfathers. I learned as much about my future profession and how I should live my life from him as anyone else. Billy, you know who you are! I can say, with all honesty, that my grandparents and parents achieved their goal.
Following much research and study my new reality about racism is this. By sheer numbers, blood, sweet and tears invested in this place where we live the black populations claim on this place trumps mine and that of most white folk. They feed the growing population; worked in the mills and factories and built with their hands the early homes and buildings we admire and claim with such pride. Do a little more research and you will find that many of us, irrelevant of the color of our skin, have the blood of shared ancestry running through our very veins. We are not black and white we are very likely cousins! An interesting observation by a European touring the south on visiting our local Sauratown Plantation; Many of the slaves working the fields could pass as white! Imagine that! Need I explain? Would our world be much different if we considered ourselves cousins rather than other races? Mine is! We are not black or white; we are various shades of brown.