Saturday, September 24, 2016

Failure to Yield

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?


  1. Dear Mandy,

    There is so much love in your blog posts.

    I can't even comprehend that it's possible to treat another person other than equal to yourself, with respect, (sometimes without respect (:):) when we are upset:)), but like an equal, nonetheless.
    I was raised in Russia and I never had to deal with issues you describe in your post. I don't know what it's like to live in a world where someone thinks they are less than me... actually, sometimes it's easier for me to think I am less than another person depending on conditions I put on myself... But it's probably two sides of the same coin, isn't it?

    When we all, people of the world, grow up to chose happiness over everything else, we will find a new way of being with ourselves and others.

    Like you said, it's already happening and it's very exciting to see the changes reflected out in the world.

    By the way, thank you for sharing your videos for free!

    All the best!

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart, Katie.


Your thoughts, insights, news, and questions are welcome!