In the spring of 1963 I worked at the Pinehurst Playhouse in North Carolina. Every week, on strike night, we took down the old set and put up the new one for the next show. One of my jobs was to make food for the crew to get them through the weary cold hours.
On my way to the Piggly Wiggly for ingredients to make a big batch of chili I noticed an elderly black man walking toward me on the sidewalk. There was a wall on my left and to the right a very steep step down into the street. Though the walk was narrow there was room for us to pass. I moved close to the wall to give him room. He was carrying bundles. As he grew near, he lowered his eyes and, with difficulty, stepped down on to the street. Reflexively, I blurted, out "Oh, no, you don't have do that!"
He froze and I saw I was just making things worse. I quietly said "I'm sorry." I walked on, but the incident stayed with me. I think about him from time to time. The life he led. The things he experienced in a time when looking a white woman in the eyes was a dangerous thing in North Carolina and failure to yield could be fatal.
When my homeland elected Barack Obama president, I breathed a sigh and thought we were finally past those awful times. Haven't we seen too many black men killed for failure to yield? Or worse, perceived failure to yield!
As I think about the distorted, limiting beliefs and view of reality that feed racism and notions of white supremacy, I want to sweep them clean. So here is one pass of the broom. Isn't it time for black men in America to have the same right of way as everyone else? What do you think?