Then one spring day in 2011, as I walking back to “my spot”, I encountered a sweet looking elderly woman strolling toward me. As is my nature, I made a passing remark about the wonder and beauty of the day. Unfortunately the first words out of her mouth were about news of a Hispanic male raping elderly women in S. California. I mumbled something to the effect of “Sorry to hear that” then turned to walk away. She immediately called out “But I’m not a racist.”You have to understand that I have zero tolerance nor understand how fellow Humans can despise an individual based solely on the color of their skin, religion, or other factors. So her comment stopped me in my tracks. As I watched and listened to the Hispanic families, cooking and playing with their children, I turned back around.
As I looked at this petite white haired, blue eyed grandma, I calmly replied “But yes you are. The first words out of your mouth to a total stranger were about horrible acts perpetrated by a person of color.” I went on to explain that at one point I had been married to a Peruvian, that his very large extended family were all hard working and devoted to their families and to America. In fact my ex brother in law and his cousin serve in the military and between the two of them have done several tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan.As our conversation was coming to a close tears started to well in her eyes. I gave her a gentle kiss on her rosy cheek, smiled, and said “We’re never too old to learn something new or change our ways.”
When confronted with unenlightened points of view silence only serves to condone ugly, negative thoughts, emotions, and actions. By dealing with them head on, in an emotionally mature manner, all of us can win over hearts and move mountains.“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi.