I know that what I am sharing is obvious and counterintuitive but I had a real epiphany today on the golf course. It was triggered by an old guy, who was white, and was very obnoxious toward me.
I was playing as a single and was allowed to ‘play through’ by another group of old dudes. They were friendly, respectful and wished me a good round of golf. The next group acted like letting me play through was like passing a kidney stone. One of them politely asked me if I wanted to play through, while the other two golfers remained on the tee box and did not move. I then asked them if they were asking me if I wanted me to play through. One of them said, “Yes!” in a loud and obnoxious manner.
I could literally feel the hairs of my neck rise up and my face grow warm. I wanted to tell him not to get snippy with me and take out his frustrations about what is going on in the country out on me. I wanted to tell him that he needed to thank the Lord that he was being disrespectful to me, and not a younger guy who might have knocked him out. Finally I wanted to tell him that I understood how hard it was for him to be living in a time where his tenure at the top of the food chain was being questioned.
As a Christian I had to spend the next few holes asking God to forgive me for the uncharitable and hateful thoughts in my heart. I thought that I was over being angry at white people. I found out that I was wrong. Though I had let this affect me, when I left the course it hit me that most blacks don’t care what white people think. They no longer look to whites to legitimize their feelings or thoughts.
This change is going to lead to increased tensions, protests and counter protests. Unless people begin to understand that this history of lack of disrespect and unequal treatment has led to this, there will be continued consternation, confusion and resentment. I sincerely hope that things change.
I hope that someone comes up with concrete actions on how to change the real issues that our country faces. I hope that strategies are implemented that do not alienate some of the very people who would be open to supporting the real message that underlies the kneeling and arm locking. I also hope that the President seeks to understand the underlying reasons for why people are so frustrated that they are willing to take such radical actions to make their views known.
Name calling and questioning the motivation behind their actions is not helping. An increasing number of the protesters are protesting the President’s words and actions.
I am praying that he would lead by asking the various parties to come to the White House, asking them to explain their views. He has spent a lifetime honing his skills as a negotiator and deal maker. There is no bigger deal than this.