I try not to be racist, but the truth is every single person on the planet is a little, I think.
Yesterday, I was in the post office, patiently standing in a line behind four other folks. To my right there was a young man who was Middle Eastern. He was tall, probably 6’2 and wearing grey sweats. And he had a long black pony tail and a great big bushy beard. He had head phones and an I phone. I watched for seven or eight minutes as he walked around picking up different envelopes then putting them back. He picked up various sizes of shipping boxes and put them down and he kept looking back, at the front door.
When it was my turn to approach the counter I looked at him and smiled, “We’re you waiting in line?”
He just shook his head and said “no.”
Once I left the Post Office I sat in the parking lot and wondered what I was supposed to do. For fifteen years we’ve been hammered with “If you see something, say something.” and the dude was acting weird.
Had it been a black, white or Hispanic guy I would not have even considered calling the authorities. But he was Middle Eastern, it was a post office and I was worried.
But reporting that young man for being what I thought was “suspicious” could wreck his life. If he was investigated it could appear on job back ground checks, maybe it would keep him out of grad school or mess up his housing situation.
I was doing everything I try not to do. I was judging him, I was racially profiling him, I was thinking like a racist.
But I’m human…and that’s the problem. We are all flawed. Are our thoughts or actions more important? I don’t know.
I can only hope, someday, when God takes a look at my track record he doesn’t judge me by my actual thoughts. And I hope the youngman in the Post Office can forgive me. I hope you found your envelope.