Using My Spiritual Gift
What is my spiritual gift, you ask? Eavesdropping. I kinda don’t have a choice!
The Hotness and I just got back from a weekend in New York; the city that has our heart. One reason I love NYC is because of the incredible amounts of diversity, all crammed into a small geographical location with a relatively low rate of violence. I love the idea of so many people living in such close proximity, especially with the knowledge that over 40% of New Yorkers were born outside the U.S. I mean, that’s a melting pot if there ever was one.
While the Hotness went off for a short shopping excursion, I sat in a lounge, relaxed and watched the NFL playoffs.
While hanging out, there was a group of old school New Yorkers just a few feet away. I’d guess most of these men were in their 60s or 70s. They talked about the way things used to be, they talked about how gentrified their old neighborhoods were and how that landscape changed and bemoaned how things aren’t the way they used to be. Ya know, typical old people talk.
One of the gents then made one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve heard in years: “Ya know when things really started to go to hell? When they passed the damned Civil Rights Act back in ’64.”
Say what? Did I really just hear that? Sadly, yes. In a public establishment within ear shot of complete strangers; some of whom wouldn’t have had rights 50 some odd years ago.
With race such a hot button topic, I really couldn’t believe my ears. I think we all know folks who truly feel as though their race is the best. Or that other races shouldn’t have the same rights. I try not to associate with folks who hold these sorts of beliefs and I hope you don’t, either.
I frowned. I also kept listening. Thankfully, no one at thee table echoed the speaker’s thoughts. But none called him on the carpet, either. Including me.
If I get painfully honest, in some ways, I’m no better than the racist. I had the opportunity to speak up, to point out how absurd his statement was, to advocate for my fellow human beings in the face of bigotry…and I did nothing but frown. Why? Fear, mainly. Yet, this type of fear that keeps people silent in the face of ethnocentrism is also part of the problem. From now on, whenever possible, I’ll speak up… I hope. I hope I won’t let fear of the opinions of uneducated bigots make any more choices for me.