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Racial Relations in America……..Some Light Reading for Sunday Afternoon.

1966 Corvette Stingray Coupe
                             1966 Corvette Stingray Coupe ~from Sids 1~
                                         (with thanks from Flickr.com)

This post is just an aside, being offered to counterbalance all the outright crap I’ve been reading around these spaces lately regarding race relations.

I’m a middle class working guy. A white guy. I identify mostly as an underground miner because I spent 18 years doing that. I have lived all over the United States, coast to coast.

Immediately before, during, and after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, I was renting a house in Compton. Nearly 100% of my neighbors for blocks around were of course black. Even though I could afford to locate elsewhere, I was prioritizing based on travel time to the beaches, and to my job; plus I thought the rents being asked elsewhere were absurd. La La land absurd.

And this is the Gods honest truth. What I drove at that time was a white 1966 Corvette with wire wheels. For the year that I resided in Compton, I never once had a problem, a “race based” encounter, nothing. My neighbors perhaps thought I had a few screws loose, I get that, but after several weeks they started regularly stopping by to talk and share a coffee, statisfy their curiosity, share a beer, whatever,  from all along the block because I was always out front wrenching on my Corvette for several hours each Saturday and Sunday. And it got to where a lot of folks would ask to borrow tools, or for mechanical advice, or in the case of some of the single moms in nearby apartment buildings, some actual hands on help with their vehicles. In other words, in very short order, I was accepted as a member of the community.

The younger men in the area who sold crack on the corners come evening didn’t appreciate me because I always drove too fast and would surprise them by zooming around a corner while downshifting and powering up to the next gear again. I would always see pairs of nikes floating out of my headlight beams as they dove over walls. But even those guys never bothered me, or even ever tried to stare me down. I mean think about it, not my fault that they needed to worry about drive by’s or cops. And puhleeeze don’t come up on the thread and tell me I’m a card carrying member of the “oppressor class”.

My belief is that you “get back” the energy that you actively “put out there”.

That is “real”, a functioning dynamic in our everyday lives. If you spend all of your time in fear, thinking suspicious thoughts, or picking compulsively at our yet unhealed racially based scabs, what do you think you will reap?

At least that has been my experience.

Try it sometime.

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Robert Alexander Dumas

Robert Alexander Dumas

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