As part of that i help all manner of people. I helped a couple from Australia who came to America to see the upcoming eclipse. I helped a lady get her phone ready for a vacation to Mexico. I helped a blind lady get and set up a new phone after her last one got damaged.
But the person who sticks out most in my mind right now was an older lady who came in to get a phone for her grand daughter. She just wanted to be sure that her grand daughter would have a way to call someone in case of an emergency. That she could text her friends, and maybe play some games. Also be sure she could locate her just in case.
This is actually very run of the mill. There’s absolutely nothing exceptional about this transaction. From the way it started, her walking in, to my beekeeping her, through the setup. I’ve done this it seems a million times, and this would be the hundred thousandth for this reason.
There’s really no reason to think on it reflect on this transaction. Until I read about what’s hastening in Charlottesville.
I am a straight white male. There are people in Charlottesville protesting that proteome liner me aren’t being heard. (I have absolutely no idea what these people are smoking, and whatever it is please keep it as far from me as possible)
So what does this have to do with the lady buying a phone you ask? Well if you haven’t guessed already, the lady is African American. She is likely old enough that she grew up during the civil rights movement, and likely grew up with a different set of expectations and a different experience growing up. (I’m making a number of assumptions here, hopefully they don’t make me look like an ass. though it wouldn’t be the first time, probably won’t be the last. But I’m pretty sure i have these at least correct.)
Anyways back to my point. I help her, just like I would anyone else. We set up the phone, an email address. We setup parental controls and the ability to locate the phone. It’s the same transaction I’ve performed i don’t know how many times. There’s absolutely nothing special about it. It’s not even the biggest sale I had today.
But I can’t help but wonder, 40, 50 years ago, when she was growing up, would this have been the same? Would a white man have stepped up to help her, just the same a everyone else. Would he have sat down next to her and explained everything, or would he have blown her off to help someone else?
To be clear, I’m not looking for praise. This deserves none. There’s nothing that happened that was out of the ordinary. She was one more customer of the many I help every day. I’ve done this with people of all colors and creeds. Gay, straight, black, brown, religious, non-religious, whatever.
I help them all because the color of their skin doesn’t matter, their sexual orientation doesn’t matter, their religion, age, sex, whatever, none off it matters. What matters is that they are people, and I’m here to help them.
When I get home, I’ll find my children (who are themselves bi-racial) playing with their friends, who are African-American, Indian (from India), Hispanic, first generation African immigrants and others. And again, this doesn’t deserve praise, this is simply how things should be.
So what about Charlottesville? What does this have to do with anything? To the “alt-right”, the neo-Nazis, the skin heads the racists and bigots. You are a dying breed. Progress is happening, equality and acceptance are happening.
I believe what we are seeing is the dying gasps of racism and hatred. But it won’t go quickly, and it won’t go silently. I doubt it will even be gone by the end of my lifetime, maybe not even by the end of my children’s lifetimes. But it is going.
To the counter protesters in Charlottesville, thank you for standing up against the hate and bigotry, and for not allowing them to go unanswered.
To our president who can’t be bothered to explicitly state that racism and racists are unacceptable. Who can’t speak out against violence against those who are not like him, (see the recent bombing of a Muslim mosque), who only speaks out when white people are hurt. To the man who would promote the likes of Steve bannon, well to quote the play Avenue Q, “Donald Trump is just for now.”
These actions in Charlottesville are simply the death spiral of racism. It will undoubtedly be a long, hard, tiring death spiral. But that’s what it is all the same.