As I drove down my street, I noticed a car parked near my yard. But I noticed a logo on the side, and saw a man walking away from it, so I assumed nothing more. I had just walked in and gotten my pups, when the doorbell rang. In today’s age, when the doorbell unexpectedly rings, it’s not exciting; rather, it’s fearful, especially if home alone. I peaked out of the blinds to see a black male standing on my front porch. Mind you, I never open the door for strangers. Then, something strange happened. The news stories of people ringing the doorbell to see if anyone is home before breaking in, began to race through my mind. So I decided to play my odds by announcing my presence, as I fastened my gun to my waistband. “Can I help you?” I half yelled. No answer. Thought to myself, great, he didn’t hear me and now I have to open the door.
As I opened the main door, my pups took their place firmly by my feet, eagerly looking out of the glass door. Again I said “Can I help you?” The man proceeded to tell me that he was out checking roofs and offered me his card through the closed glass door, as I pointed to my dogs and shrugged, saying “I can’t really open my door. But we recently had our roof replaced.” He acknowledged the pups and told me he understood, and wished me a good afternoon.
It wasn’t until after he was gone that my problem was made clear. I looked out the blinds and saw a black male, not the older white male I saw walking away from the car with the logo. It wasn’t even until I closed my door that I noticed the logo on the man at my door’s shirt matched the logo on the car. I didn’t consider that there could be more than one sales or repairman in that car. You know what I did consider? That he was black.
I am horribly ashamed of myself. To the point that my stomach is turning in upset at whatever that was that triggered even the smallest amount of fear in me. If I’m perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have had that same rush of fear had it been the older white guy that I had already seen on my way down the street. This was more than just a stranger at my door feeling. I know that. And as much as I hate it, I have to be brutally honest with myself and admit that racism still exists.
One of my sons is originally from Haiti. I’ve witnessed racism toward him. I openly oppose racism and seek justice for all who practice it. I assumed I would be immune to it myself; unfortunately, there seems to still be some tucked inside in the form of fear. I am so ashamed. Once I realized this feeling, I felt compelled to go see if the roofers were still on the block and catch him to apologize for my body language or assumptions. But it was too late.
I could easily brush this situation off and tell no one. I could easily have ignored that awareness and written it off as him just being a stranger. Reality is, that’s part of why we have such a problem still, few people are admitting their own issues.
Media drives the fear, don’t get me wrong. I am not a fan of the selective fear mongering they offer. However, this was my own heart. I am responsible for my own heart. And I want to publicly say I’m sorry. Although I love big and I leave no room for hate, I was unaware of the fear aspect. I have been made aware, and I vow to conquer that fear with knowledge. I vow to seek to better know and understand my friends of all colors. I vow to not remain silent, as silence never solves a problem.