I Have A Friend Who Is A Negro! A Moment With Bill Essay
A Glimpse Back in Time
Let me take you back to the mid-1960’s. This writer attended Seattle University, enrolling in the freshmen class in 1966. I came from a lilly-white Catholic high school in Tacoma, Washington. There was not one African American in my high school. Come to think of it, there were no Asians or Hispanics, either. Just us white boys from middle class and upper-middle class families.
Seattle University is located to the east of Capital Hill in Seattle in an area called the Central District. Back in 1966 the Central District meant, for lack of a better term, the Black District.
The school year began and as freshmen will do, we socialized a bit and got to know each other. On our dorm floor were students from Los Angeles and Chicago, New York and San Francisco, all people well-versed in cultural diversity….and then there was me.
One Friday night after some pizza a few of the new friends decided to flip me some crap about my lack of racial experience. The jokes were crude and demeaning and I was on a slow-burn. After about a half hour of being the brunt of jokes I declared that I had nothing against blacks and that I did, in fact, have a friend who was a Negro.
Oh Lord help me!
After the laugher subsided it was brought to my attention that the very fact that I declared my friendship with a black person proved the point they were making, that I was ignorant about race in general and in my ignorance I was furthering racism.
That one hurt!
The Youngbloods speaking the truth
Older and Wiser Now
Well, it turned out that my worldly friends were absolutely correct. Today I understand their point because I realize that to differentiate a human being according to color, sex or creed is in fact perpetuating prejudice.
You see, we are all members of the human race and as such not so different after all. We certainly aren’t different enough to need labels for description.
Think about it and you just might see the wisdom in it.
The more I think of you as a Black American, and you as a Hispanic American, and you over there as an Asian American, the less I am thinking of you as Americans. The key classification is “Americans” and not the color of American, and even that is getting away from the central point, namely that we all belong to the Human Race.
What’s next? Meet my friend, he’s a Gay American. Hey, over there, that’s Janice, she’s a Catholic American, and Bob over there is a Closet Homophobe American, and Turk is a Redneck Dumber Than Dirt American. Where does it stop?
Why do we need labels to describe a person? If there is a point in it I would love to hear about it right now.
Words of wisdom by Lurana
- Global Citizens and Human Rights
What are human rights? What standards are they based on? Who enforces them? Shouldn’t I get a vote as a global citizen?
Today I See the Truth
I am color blind. I stand on my actions as proof of that fact. I couldn't care less what color you are, and I sure as hell don’t want to know your sexual preferences. Makes no difference to me if you are a Baptist or a Jew, a Catholic or an atheist; you are welcome at Bill and Bev’s house for a home-cooked meal.
What’s that you say? You are an exec for Microsoft? Don’t be offended when I say I don’t care. Oh, you say you are homeless? Yep, you got it, I don’t care.
Would you like to know what I do care about? I care about the depth of your character. I care about whether you are compassionate and empathetic. I care about whether you give a damn about humanity or if greed is your siren song. Show me that you have game with regards to being a human being and I’ll give you my respect. Earn it and it is yours.
That is my truth today. We are all the same. We all laugh and cry, feel pain and experience happiness. We all nurture our young, try our damndest and struggle from time to time. We all stumble and fall, rise up again and keep moving forward. We all have our flaws, our frailties and our character defects, and we all have the capability of being so much more.
That is my truth today!
We are the world
Do you consider yourself to be color blind?
Labeling leads to stereotypes leads to prejudice leads to division of humanity, and we should be working towards coming together and not spreading further apart.
You see, we need each other, and that may be a point that is hard for some to accept.
I need the banker in Wales and the shepherd in Afghanistan. I need the textile worker in Bangkok and the farmer in Iowa. We are all in this together. This is a global society. Anyone who believes otherwise is smoking some stuff that I would like to sample. The sooner we come together, bridge our differences and accept the fact that we are all one big family, the better off we will be.
Yes we are bonded economically. The United States needs the Chinese consumer just as they need us. When workers go on strike in London it affects the Euro and that in fact will affect the dollar. When a tsunami hits Japan you damn well better believe it will be felt in Detroit, Michigan.
Now we need to learn to bond in more important ways as well. One of the wonders of the internet is the fact that I can bond with someone in India. I can learn about their culture and their beliefs and they can find out that not all Americans are egotistical idiots. I can reach out to someone in Connecticut when they are recovering from a disaster and I can laugh at jokes served up by the Mickster in Ireland. The more I am willing to do those things, the more we will come together and that, my friends, must be a good thing.
Love One Another
Proud to Be an American
Well yes, I love my country of birth. The United States has a rich history of accomplishment and innovation, of hard work and sacrifice. Sure there are things about my country that need fine-tuning, but that can be said of all countries on Earth.
More importantly, though, I am proud to be a member of the Human Race. We are a wondrous species and we are capable of so much good. It is my belief that if we come together under a common flag, the flag of humanity, we will reach levels of accomplishment we once could only dream about, and wouldn’t that be a marvelous thing to behold?
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
Dedicated to my friend Lurana who can be found on HubPages here.