CommunityPam's House Blend

Letter from a former reader

My post about the N-bomb being dropped on black passersby at a Prop 8 protest has been generally well-received or at the very least spurred discussion and emails. I received this one, and it’s interesting, if disturbing.

The post so unnerved him that he will no longer read this blog. The reason? Well, just read it. It’s below the fold.Emphasis is mine:

Hi Pam,

I have been a faithful,daily reader of your blog for quite some time…I found its content interesting,clearly.

   However,it is with regret,that I will no longer read it,and I have removed it from my Bookmarks. I am afraid that this “N-Bomb” article put me over the top..We all have life experiences that make us who we are..Please allow me to share a little of mine with you.

 I grew up in Seattle in the 1950’s and 1960’s…I can honestly say that there were no People Of Color in my neighborhood at that time,nor in my grade school,junior high,or high school,except my 4th grade teacher,who was black..Frankly,it was a rather White World at that time…The only blacks I can recall on tv were on the Amos and Andy show.I was lucky,in my house,growing up,I never heard one single thing said about blacks of a negative nature..It never was an issue,and having no contact with blacks while growing up,I honestly had no opinion,good or bad.

 After high school,I joined the U.S.Army..I became an instructor in the communications school, at Ft. Ord,California..While serving in the Army,I had plenty of exposure to black men..again,I honestly can not recall anything that gave me a negative opinion of them.I do recall their sense of humor and love of pulling pranks and stuff,but I did not and still do not see that as anything bad.

 After three years in the Army,I went back to school..Earning my degree,I was hired as director of training for a company called “Churches Chicken”…With this position, came the responsibility of 12 stores as Regional Director,with an average of 25/27 employees per store..My Region was in California,in Watts, Inglewood, Compton,etc..That’s right..My Region was black people,my employees were black people, my customers were black people..For over 5 years,I ran that district working 12/14 hours a day,6 days a week..So,it is with that exposure,I think I have a slight grasp on some of the black experience,or, I like to think so,at least.

 Like any large group of people,the blacks’ included, there are good people,and monstrous people..I met them all….I worked side by side with them all day,every day..I saw social changes that made me uncomfortable,over time..I saw naked racism every day against me,for being “Whitey”..But I stayed on..Why? Because I had satisfaction in my job.For you see,Pam,I got to hire people,I got to train people,and I got to promote people based on their skills and abilities.

I recall one young man that was in the Crips gang and wanted to get out of gang life..He asked me for a job..I hired him,why? Because he was honest enough to tell me he had a criminal record,that he wanted to make his Mother happy..I hired him on the spot and I put him in my training store so I could train him myself..He worked hard and was friendly and honest to everyone.

After three months’ I told him that I putting him in the management training class..He was just that good of a employee…Three days later,his Brother came to see me..His Brother told me that this young man who had his future finally begun,had been shot and killed by his old gang members……Pam, something inside of me died a little with that news..I thought I was making a difference in peoples lives in some small way, but,I saw that was not possible,at least for me…I hung on for a few more months’ then, I gave my notice and quit..I stayed in the restaurant business,but I ceased believing that I could make a difference.

   For,in my opinion,Pam,sometime the gulf is too great to bridge..You and I could trade how lousy Whites are and how crummy Blacks are,but to what end? I was not surprised,nor will I ever be surprised at hate and racism.I saw it close up and personal,it was taught to me,over and over and over..It will never cease in my lifetime,nor in yours’…Do you honestly believe that Mr. Obama will make things between the races better? I do not..This climate will escalate,we both know that..And for the record,the ONLY time I have ever been called a “faggot” was by blacks, usually black females, for some reason..I am weary of it all,and Pam,I am afraid my patience and tolerance of black hatred and racism has concluded..Its’ a pity,really,I came to the party in a new suit,only to leave that party with that new suit now torn and stained.

 I wish you every continued success and happiness. Good bye Pam.

OK. I respect this person’s desire to cut himself off from the Blend,  and he actually took the time to write and share his personal (negative) experience. However, this is an example of misguided thinking. My reply:

First of all, thank you for writing and sharing your story. I know it took time, effort and emotional energy to write it.

I do wonder why my blog about the hateful behavior of some people at the protests is the cause for you to stop reading the Blend. The story you shared, as difficult and horrible it had to have been for you, is not grounds to make the assumption that all black people are incapable of bridging the gap of understanding.

If those young men had been white, would it have shaken your faith in white people? There are good people and bad people, and there are those who cannot be reached. That thinking is why I have had to suffer the humiliation of been profiled (shopping while black, hailing a cab while black) for no other reason than the color of my skin and someone’s bad interactions with some black people, or worse, just their image of all blacks as thieves and low lifes from watching the perp walk loops on the evening news.

The election of Barack Obama is not going to erase racism in the U.S., the only people who can erase it are those of us who are willing to forge on, as difficult as it is.

Of course I wish you would continue to visit the Blend and share your thoughts with readers, but I respect your decision to move on.




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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding