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Friday, October 18, 2013

Unknown Racist

Deep down inside I think we all strive to be good people. We go to church on whatever day we normally attend our services and then we come home. We gather around the table and talk about our thoughts and desires. Then the next day starts and our secret beliefs go into play. The preacher's words are no longer in our ear. A difficult person comes in the door and then we think....

What did you think? If the person happens to be a nice person with manners and "so called" character, we might receive them well. Does our perception change if the person is rude and nasty? Have you ever judged a person before they opened their mouth to say hello? If you have, and I bet you have! You might be a little on the racist side.

About 11 years ago I got on a flight in Frankfurt, Germany. We were in war, deep in the shock and awe stage. My husband was in Iraq picking up dead bodies with his unit while I was getting ready to bury my mother. I took my two kids and walked about midway into the plane. A group of five or six middle eastern men came in the same direction. I froze for a second, I didn't know what to do. The planes had just went down months before because of 9/11. Here I sat with my two babies and these men lined up beside me.

You can't imagine what was going through my head! I looked down at my babies and I looked at the man that sat down next to me. I didn't know if he was a terrorist, but I knew I didn't want to find out, later in the flight. So, I turned my head and smiled. Then I introduced myself and threw myself into a six or seven hour talking frenzy. By the time we landed some of the passengers thought we were husband and wife. We laughed, talked, and he played with the kids. After I walked away, a wave of guilt washed over me. I had pretty much labeled them terrorist because of their nationality. I understood how someone could be racist or prejudice without meaning to be.

Today I know better! I don't judge people because they look different. I try not to judge at all. The point is, we are not perfect. We have flaws, but that doesn't mean the flaws can't be corrected. Some of us aren't even aware of the flaws until we are forced to be in a situation that forces us to deal with them. Life is the teacher and we are the students.

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