Dear Northwest Missourian,
The other day, I was in my living room with my two other roommates and one of them got an update on his phone from the newspaper. An article titled “Being Black in Maryville Means Never Feeling Safe” had just been released, and when we read it, our tempers hit the roof. I’ve been putting up with the racial grief for months now and haven’t said anything, now I’ve just had my limit and would like to speak my mind to all of you.
This young man who wrote the article made the impression that just because he has a different skin color, he doesn’t feel safe in Maryville and he trembles in fear of “the roar of a pickup and the thud of boots on pavement.” I’m going to call him out. He just called everyone who wears boots and drives trucks a racist, whether he knows it or not. I’ll tell you who wears boots and drives trucks: It’s the working man and woman. And it’s the reason I’m writing this, to stand up for them.
I don’t see how just because they have a darker skin color than I do, it gives them the excuse to whine, fuss and act like toddlers over nothing much at all. They are expecting things to be handed to them by all governments, local, state and federal. If those governments give in, the expense comes down to the working men and women who have no interest in these protests and/or riots. They are just trying to get by and raise their families and do what they can when they can, or maybe they’re just trying to help where they are able and get their dreams off the ground like myself.
My question is: why? They grew up in the same country I did, with the same rights, and they were not slaves, and I was not a slave owner. As a matter of fact, I had many relatives that wore Union blue and fought to preserve the nation in the Civil War. So let me ask an obvious question. Could I say in today’s world that I get nervous when I see sports cars and the people driving them are black and have on shirts too large and gym shorts only pulled up to their knees? No. Why? Because I am a white male and that would be considered racism. But it’s fine if they can get away with it. See the issue?
The young man at the beginning article also said that a young woman was staring at him as she rode by, and the author said it was probably because of his skin color. He never considered maybe she was impressed at his appearance, maybe she liked the color of his shoes, or his fly was unzipped, perhaps? My point is, so what she gave you a look? With respect, sir, buck up.
The worst I have ever been looked in my life happened my first year in Maryville. The Tower Suites flag football team was in the playoffs, and we were playing Franken. Since we were the aggies, I dressed up to support them and wore my best cowboy hat, a nice button up shirt and work boots. I walk in and do my farmer’s lean against one of the bleachers next to where the Franken supporters were.
After a while, I glance over and see 15 big ’ol boys glaring at me like, let’s say like farmers would glare at Bloomberg right after he told them they were stupid. I never experienced such a look in my life, and although I wouldn’t consider myself the sharpest barb on the wire, I sensed a little hostility in their body language.
Then I saw one of my friends from seminar class, and we got to talking about odds and ends stuff from farms to sports to hometowns. Then one of the glaring boys asked me a question about cattle. I answered and then someone asked me another question, and I asked one, and so on and so forth. Next thing I know, I’m friends with everyone on the bench.
Now, what if I told you about 10 to 11 of those boys were black; would that make a difference? No, it didn’t make a difference. Being kind to your fellow man is being kind to your fellow man, no matter how you cut it. And this is all coming from a man who came from a school district with low, single-digit number of black people, if that means anything to anybody.
To wrap it all up, quit feeling like you deserve something because of the color of your skin. God loves you all just the same as he does me. Get off your butt, go to work, do your best, uphold your family name, tell a police officer thank you for maintaining enough order to where we all can sleep at night in peace. God bless our soldiers, emergency personnel and our working men and women. And God bless the United States of America.