My Encounter With A Good ‘Ol Boy

At work today a middle-aged black man walked past me and made a joke. I laughed and made one back. As he walked away, another middle-aged white man, who was near and overheard us, boldly says to me, “that ni**er should be in a cage”, then looks at me and laughs.

Normally, I’d say nothing. Write it off to differing beliefs and his ignorance. But my life has changed a lot the past 4-5 years. Today I figured I’d teach a little bit.

“Sir I am offended. I’m not offended as a white male married to a black woman. I’m not offended as a father of 4 black children. I’m not even offended that you are clueless enough to make the assumption that I’m automatically going to agree with your comment, and spew it out to me like its nothing. I am just offended as a human being. Offended that I have to walk around in a society, where people choose not to open their eyes and evolve or make progress. So, sir if you see me around again, don’t speak to me until you are capable of doing it on a human level.”

—This is what I said to the guy. Believe it or not. Now, it probably didn’t sound as good it looks in print, and don’t quote me word for word. It definitely didn’t come out smoothly. Not like the movies or anything like that. In fact, I remember my hands shaking when I was in the middle of it, wondering what he was going to do and how he was going to respond. To my surprise he said nothing. His face fell blank and emotionless. A couple of seconds later he was gone.

I felt great for my personal progress on the matter…the fact that I was able to speak up, (thank you therapy) but I also still felt sad knowing people think this way and that it probably won’t be the last time something like this happens.

Worries the hell outta me because the next time it probably won’t be about a random stranger. And sticking up for my family might entail more than just a conversation.