I got banned from a convenient store for being a black guy with a Mohawk.
Growing up interracial gave me the privilege of seeing both sides of the fence. The fence that separates blacks and whites.
One of the things that I’m most thankful for about being interracial is the exposure to different cultures that I have been privileged to have. It’s taught me many things but two of the things that I want to highlight are these:
People typically fear what they don’t understand.
People feel safe when they are around people who are like them and perspectives who are like theirs.
We as people love control. We love knowing the next 5 steps.
We celebrate the 20-year overnight success entrepreneurial venture that social media broadcast, while still allowing ourselves to stay confined to a job that doesn’t measure up to our potential. Sometimes we just decide to halfway show to our occupation because we rather our routine than to raise the morale of the company. There’s a certain exhilaration to living in mystery that takes stepping past the confines of comfort.
It takes courage to be curious.
Though every individual is uniquely different there are some qualities that are exactly the same. Lots of these qualities and mindsets are pushed on us by the environments we are raised in.
For example, if you grow up in a home where everybody celebrates basketball and it’s a ritual for you every night of basketball season to have ESPN on in the living room, you may have some internal friction when Bill says soccer is the best sport.
If you grow up in a household where there is a certain stigma towards specific people groups and you never allow your perspective to be broadened….you will hold on to that same perspective.
I will never forget leaving the convenient store like me and my friends had done so many times before and being chased down by the store attendant in the parking lot. She yelled at me and told me I can never come back to the store because I was caught stealing on camera…🤨
I had never stolen from that store…so obviously I was confused.
Now you try to talk crazy to any troubled 16-year-old boy around his young group of friends and you are going to get some kind of attitude. I don’t remember what I said back to the random lady who was yelling at me like I was her child but I’m sure it wasn’t nice.
I do however remember not wanting to go to the store that I practically grew up walking too.
To this day I don’t allow my kids to take personal toys into the store for fear of having a conversation with someone that they didn’t steal it.
Somehow I got an apology and they realized that it wasn’t me stealing on the camera. It was another light skin guy with a Mohawk.
Now, this is one story of being misunderstood because of the color of my skin, I’ve been taken to the town jail with a group of friends because the neighborhood people who lived around the ballpark thought that a group of middle schoolers was trying to beat up an older white man who was drunk, running after us, and verbally expressing his sexual fantasies that included people of our juvenile group. I’ve been searched outside of a family member's house because the vehicle we were sitting in had two tires in the road….we weren’t “fully” in the yard.
Now I’m not going to say every encounter that I’ve had like that was fueled by racism. But one of the main reasons racism is allowed to linger is because we refuse to broaden our perspective and stretch our comfort zone.
When we engage in the curiosities of others' cultures we shave away the fear that tries to entangle us and cause our limited perspectives to harbor racism.
Everybody is worthy of love.