I made friends with an elderly couple on my block and helped them by mowing their yard, shoveling their snow, changing lightbulbs, etc. I had grown quite fond of them and enjoyed hanging out with Mr. Storey as he told me of stories in the past, especially his time in the war. I thought he was a terribly interesting man. However, he had a complaining, rough edge to him.
He had grown cynical, argumentative, grumpy and just plain cantankerous. He had purchased his house several decades earlier when the block was filled with "proper" people. He was finding all of his neighbors either dying or moving away to the suburbs. Now, his block was being inhabited by people that had "questionable" reputations (I'm cleaning up Mr. Storey's language quite a bit.)
As a Christian teenager, quite young, naive and inexperienced in helping people to understand God better, I had grown tired of his statements about "those people." I had several friends on that block and in school that were of "those people" and Mr. Storey let me know that he didn't approve of me allowing "them" into my home.
The last time I visited Mr. Storey (I didn't know it was my last time), I knocked on the door and he yelled for me to come in. He was watching the TV Mini-series, ROOTS. He looked at me and said, "you know this TV show is pure fiction, all lies. Those F****** N****** are nothing but b*******!" I didn't know what to say. This is the most hateful I had ever heard him talk. He continued to denigrate "those people" and a statement just popped out of my mouth. I don't know where it came from, but I said, "how would you feel if you were born black?"
For an old man, he sure moved quickly. He picked me up, ushered me to his front door, pushed me off the front porch while kicking me in the butt and I landed flat on the sidewalk that led to his house. He then yelled, "don't you ever come back here, you n***** lover!" I walked home, dejected, just a couple doors down, and told me mom what happened. I said, "what do I do? Mr. Storey is my friend?!" She proceeded to say, "he told you not to come back. Don't ever go back there unless he apologizes to you."
I wish I could say that there was a happy ending to this story. Mr. Storey didn't leave that neighborhood until after I left for college. Every day, walking to the bus stop or walking to church, I walked right past his house. I never saw him on his front porch again, so I didn't even get a chance to wave at him. I never heard from him again, I never was back to his house.
I still grieve over my broken friendship with Mr. Storey even though that was 35+ years ago. I still feel his boot on my butt.
I grieve more over the injustice that humanity perpetuates upon humanity.
It's pretty simple.
God's Word is quite clear on this issue.
Racism is sin.
BE A MAN.