Yesterday i celebrated Martian Luther King Jr. day by taking a civil rights hike instead of a march. A friend and i spent the entire day enjoying the holiday. We toasted Martin with Dos Equis and lime. I have never really celebrated the day. Being from Alabama and also being a white boy, the day is kind of glossed over and the importance of what he did is always in the shadow of him being a black man. He was a black man. His skin retained more pigment than mine. His facial features were different than mine. He had a different culture than mine, but we shared this planet together. Martin had a mother and a father like me. Martian experienced fear, joy, sadness, happiness, disappointment, and victory like me. He wore shoes and suits. He had friends and they talked about the things they liked. He had sex and ate good food.
When we were buying the beer i told the cashier "Happy MLK day". She looked at me like i was crazy. She was an older white woman and probably lived through the 60's as the civil rights movement was developing. Obviously she was not very fond of African-American heros. I wonder what she was taught growing up as a little girl? How much fear was instilled into her to cause her to dislike someone based off of skin tone? I am by no means an activist for racial issues, but i do believe in challenging stagnant thought. I am sure that lady was not aware that she had adopted a dangerous thought as her own through the influence of others. I dont think she could even give an answer as to why she didnt like Martian Luther King Jr. For her he probably just embodied the idea of what she was taught to dislike, nothing personal just skin.
And thats how those thoughts work. They are programed into our baby minds and we live out the values of those thoughts. They bring us suffering at times and we are clueless as to the cause. Well i encourage Cashier Lady and anyone else to take time to reflect. Take time to confront pain and trace it to its origin. Take time to get to know yourself and gain a sense of control. It will be challenging but also highly rewarding.
Thanks for the story Cashier Lady.