I Witnessed Racism and This Was My Response

During the summer holidays, the family tradition is for the guys to head out for a morning tee time. So, this past Labor Day, myself, my father-in-law, and two brother-in-laws began our round, just like we had countless times before. But, little did we know, this day would be different. There would be moment where it suddenly became less about wedges and birdies, but was about whites and blacks. It became less about racing around a golf course, and more about race relations on a golf course.
We had just finished the first 10 holes, and the sun was beginning to beat down. It was hot, sticky, but our group was having a great time. Talking about our jobs, families, and of course giving each other a hard time for good measure. But those laughs, those catching-up stories came to a screeching halt on the 11th hole.
Two holes ahead of us, there was a group of older black men, that most likely were doing the same thing we were doing…spending a holiday doing something they enjoy with their friends and family. This particular course we were playing bordered a fairly busy road, and the back nine had several holes that were a short wedge away from the road. If you have golfed on a course like this, it’s normal for some yahoo to honk their horn or try to scream in your back-swing every once in a while. But this time it was different.
As our group headed towards our green, about 100 yards in front of us, a car slowed down and began screaming at the group of black men. But this was no ordinary jokester. No, this was a car that was full of hate and vitriol. At the top of their lungs, they yelled expletives, vulgar language, and even the N-word. I’m not naive. I realize this happens in America, but I don’t remember seeing it happen right in front of me. It stopped me in my tracks. Most golfers on that course may have just moved on, but I couldn’t.
Growing up, my parents taught me to treat people with love and respect. More importantly, my God has taught me in his Word how to love my neighbor. When I was a kid, one of my best friends was my neighbor. He was a big black kid, and I was a very small white kid. He was my friend. He was also my protector. One day, a group of kids, including my friend and I, were playing on the play set in my backyard. Well, one kid didn’t like me getting on the slide before he did, so he punched me. My friend (did I mention he was big) decided it was time for this other kid to not be on the play set anymore, and he threw him off. That kid didn’t come back anymore.
I mention this story, because as I thought of these men who were verbally attacked, I thought of my friend. Sure, I couldn’t protect them like my friend did for me, but I had to do something. I felt for these guys. And as we passed each other on the next hole, my heart was telling me to say something.
So I went up to one of the men in their group. I said, “Hey man, was your group yelled at back there”. He responded in a disappointed tone, “yes it was”. I told him “That ain’t right. I didn’t have anything to do with that, but I just wanted to say I’m sorry”. His response, “We just said as a group, they must have some sort of issue, and we just dropped it.” I said “Well, that’s not we all feel. It’s a very small percentage…” He said as we parted our ways, “There are many that make up our world, and we know it’s people like you and me…that’s what make the difference”. He shook my hand, said he appreciated me coming over, and we went back to our golf game.racism
My point of this article is not to add fuel to the fire, or to make a political statement.  This is less about a racist, and more about love.  My point is this man taught me love, forgiveness, and grace in just one sentence. I learned the importance of loving your neighbor. I was reminded of Jesus, who, when he looked at the crowds would look with compassion. That man said that I made a difference in our conversation. When was the last time I just took 10 seconds out of my day to make an impact on someone’s life? I’m often selfish with my time, energy, and even my compassion. These are things God has given me that I can give away for free.
Make a difference. Have the compassion of Jesus in a world where love is often missing. As the man said, “It’s people like you and me…that’s what makes the difference”. God has called His children to spread His love and Good News message…are you?

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