Race Is Not a Card…

Image result for free google images of deck of cardsImage result for free google images of deck of cards

Does anyone know what a race card is? Surely you’ve heard this term thrown around quite often, especially in the media. It implies that an individual of ethnicity, is somehow using his/her own race to attain some type of advantage as a result. But, here’s the million dollar question: How can a person’s race, be considered a card, that a person can flash or present at will, whenever the occasion seems suitable? Yet amazingly, people are accused of this all the time. In fact, every time I hear the term, I am astounded that it has gained so much momentum and attention over the years and is often viewed as a valid concern.

Now it would be unfair of me to speak for other ethnicities or make generalizations concerning my own, but I do think it’s safe to say that being that one cannot change their race at will, (and why would they want to) any more than they can stop the sun from shining or the rain from falling. But for me, ‘race’ consists of a full deck if you will, that people of various ethnic backgrounds reflect 2-4-7. They represent the entire ‘deck’, all day, every day, whereas a card can be pulled, changed, and altered as often as need be.

Furthermore, would you agree that by accusing a person(s) of playing the race card, also implies that there is some disadvantage that would inspire the use of this so-called card in the first place, in order to level the playing field? If everyone had the same opportunities, the proverbial ‘race’ card instance would be non-existent. Interesting that the very people who often tilt the field in their own favor, then audaciously turn around and accuse the unwilling recipients of these accusations, who in spite of so much adversity, still manage to embrace the life-long hands they’ve been dealt, with both resilience and acceptance. Kind of reminds me of the thinking behind affirmative action. Lets start the conversation. What say you?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

The Purple Rain/Reign Continues…

Image result for free google images of Prince Rogers NelsonImage result for free google images of Prince Rogers Nelson

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post called Farewell to a Royal Prince: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/fairwell-to-a-prince/. As I read it over several times, I realized that I did not touch on many of the things that I really wanted to. There is so much to say and I feel that my original article barely scratched the surface. So I decided to write a continuation, to see if I could actually do the artist we all know as ‘Prince’, some justice, at least in my own mind.

What I really wanted to say, was that the energy Prince created in his music was so magically and wonderfully contagious. The infamous guitar riffs captured each and every shred of a person’s being. Never having had the opportunity to see Prince in concert, I’ve only been able to witness his magic on film and radio. I can only describe his self-taught mastery of the guitar as pure and overwhelming electricity. And he shared his electrical musical tantrums with the world; charging through Friends (fans) with abandon, leaving them in awestruck shock, forever transformed by the experience.

I can’t think of any other artist that made fans feel like they were sharing in those high-voltage tantrums, while also releasing their own pent up, stored energy, right along with him, by way of his high energy performances and a one-of-a-kind unique dance style, that included jumping off of risers and speakers that were several feet high. And lets talk about the dancing for a minute. Wow! Prince had a way of bringing the flavor of James Brown, Little Richard and the slightest hint of Elvis into his splits, fancy footwork, sexy gyrations and incredible handling of the microphone; which seemed to bend and fall under his expert command and high fever-pitched screams . He was truly something to watch. As I learn more about him, I realize that I never really knew just how great of an all-around artist/performer Prince was until now. It’s like I’m being introduced to him all over again, and I’m so thrilled to make his acquaintance, even if only in song and on film.

Prince was fearless, an eccentric musical warrior, able to project an overwhelmingly masculine presence, yet was so visibly in touch with his feminine side; a delicate balancing act within itself. But make no mistake. Standing only 5 feet 2 inches, Prince was all man, in every sense of the word. He exuded a masculine swagger that was all his own, sprinkled with little pops of femininity throughout his persona, much like the bursts of color that always adorned his amazing wardrobe.

Prince was able to blend people of all walks of life together with his music, whether that was his original intention or not. He was a master chef of an expansive melting pot, that still gives off its sweet aroma of love, harmony, and selflessness, all seasonings that are enjoyed throughout the world today, as a result of his phenomenal love for his craft and his friends (fans). Not only did his friends (fans) get the show of their lives during his performances, but they also received the bonus of a unique kind of therapy, universal in its healing, as he administered ultra-high doses of his specialized formula to the world.

His talent speaks for itself, and in resounding volumes that will blare out in amplified decibels for many decades to come. I defy anyone to sit still while listening to songs like: Let’s Go Crazy, Little Red Corvette, Controversy, 1999 (Party Like It’s 1999) and seemingly countless others. His music makes you happy, it raises you up when you’re feeling low, it gives you hope when the world seems hopeless. It takes a special kind of person to be able to create such a powerful and positive landscape, all while expressing himself by way of his passion. It’s what makes his death so hard to accept.

Purple, the color of passion, that of which he gave without inhibition, each and every time he stepped onto the stage. Is it any wonder that purple was Prince’s signature color?Royalty never donned an artist so well, as did his birth name, Prince. So much zest for life, now whisked away as quickly and unexpectedly as when he first burst onto the scene with his debut album titled: For You, in 1978.

Prince was an artist who was socially conscious on so many levels. His highly sexual expressiveness, was disturbing to some, but you have to appreciate his raw honesty and  uninhibited way of letting his feelings be known and heard. He made the world feel free as he let us all know that it’s okay to be an individual and to be true to one’s own self. In spite of all the highs and lows of the music industry, Prince did remain true to himself throughout his thirty five plus year career. Even if you aren’t a fan, surely you can respect his hustle. So sad to think that even after all the music that he shared with us, there is still so much more to Prince that we will never know. The hazy mystique of his opaque persona, will be shrouded in even more mystery than ever before. After all, isn’t that what true legends are made of? And so the purple rain/reign continues!!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

**Prince did not care for the word ‘fan’. He often to referred to his audience(s) and lovers of his work as his ‘friends’, as referenced in this post.

Images: Free Google images

Farewell to a Royal Prince…

It’s growing very tiresome and troublesome, mourning yet another mega-superstar musical icon. Yet, somehow, I still have some tears left. Prince Rogers Nelson is gone. It still doesn’t resonate with me, whether I write it or say it. In fact, it’s downright unbelievable! He was one of the last true baby-boomer sensations, that my generation could relate to on such a deep level.

Each time an announcement is made about the death of another larger-than-life person, of course the initial reaction is a big fat dose of denial. At least this is the case for me. But this time, denial didn’t stay around very long, as the media began to quickly flood the airwaves on Thursday afternoon, April 21, 2016, with the shocking news of Prince’s death.

Maybe you hoped as I did that this was another hoax. Sometimes people with a dark, sick sense of humor, ignite rumors of a celebrity’s passing. Incidentally, Bill Crystal has been reported to have passed away several times, but thankfully, he lives to laugh about it. But there’s nothing funny about it. Especially, God forbid, when the day actually comes and the ‘true’ announcement is made, no one will believe the news. Unfortunately, our ‘Prince’ has left the building, for real.

I must say that I am both moved and impressed by the outpouring and showings of support from all over, to pay homage to this genius of a man, known by only one name, Prince. A man that has contributed so much to the music industry and the world in general. Interestingly, I don’t see very many people shedding tears. Mostly, there is contagious dancing and laughter amidst the purple rain, that has spread like wildfire, as people gather to reminisce about their beloved ‘Prince’. The tear-free crowds are a bit of an unusual sight, but also refreshing to see because it helps to dry up some of my own. He has given us pure joy through song and selfless humanity, both of which were shared so generously with with so many; two gifts that keep on giving as his music and kindness  live on forever.

I may not have all of his music, or any of his music. I can truly love an artist and what they do, but won’t have one piece of their music. This is amazing to me even as I share this odd fact about myself. But does that make me any less a fan than the person that has their favorite artist plastered all over their bedroom wall, or owns every t-shirt ever made in that’s artist’s image? I think not. I am just as much a fan of Prince as anyone else. As always, when an artist that I adore passes away, I pay homage to them by watching every documentary, news segment, reading every article I can get my hands on concerning the person. I then get to the business of purchasing all of their music. You may think this is backwards, but I guess it’s how I roll. Regardless, I will soon be able to play his music in heavy rotation within the comfort of my home.

I’ve often heard others who don’t understand the die-hard fan nature of some people. They don’t understand how people can get so caught up and distraught when a high caliber celebrity passes away. After all, they don’t know the celebrity personally. Well, that’s easy to answer. When you truly enjoy the artistry and talent of a artist and they move you in ways that can barely be described in words, as a true fan, you develop a connection with these people. You almost feel as if you do know them. It’s called the power of music and it is magical.

Prince provided the soundtrack, backdrop, and narrative for a major part of my life, as I’m sure he did for so many others. How could I not feel connected in a strong way when tragedy strikes? His music has gotten me through some exciting, tough and very challenging times. And there’s so much music that he gifted us with. It’s so fitting that he loved the color purple. He seemed to quietly and humbly rest comfortably in knowing that he was indeed royalty. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone and that I will never get the opportunity to see him in concert. At least there’s film and plenty of music to remember him by and for that, I am eternally grateful. I will miss him greatly. Rest in peace, royal Prince.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Oh Please!!

Never has it been truer than the old adage: you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I’m starting to feel like ‘some of the people‘ is quickly moving into the ‘none of the people‘ category. It has become increasingly difficult to gain the approval and/or acceptance from others, for simple acts of kindness both big and small. The more you try and satisfy everyone, the further away you seem to drift from that goal altogether. To please or not to please? A most appropriate question in this instance.

So, you might conclude, why even bother? And who could blame you if you feel this way? Especially when you’re more likely than not, to be shot out of the sky. Why would you not opt to fly closer to the ground, where the crash landing is bound to be less painful? But what fun would that be and what about your satisfaction? When you’re a ‘people-appeaser’, it’s very hard to retrain yourself to be of the opposite mindset. And why should you feel like you have to change who you are? How unpleasant of an experience would that be for you, to behave in a way that goes against every grain of your character, just for the sake of what others may or may not think?

You might find, that as soon as you change your modus operandi, those very same people, who couldn’t acknowledge your good efforts in the past, will come for you, with guns a blazing, to show their…wait for it, wait for it…. displeasure in your ‘new attitude’. Which would be more disheartening for you, the seemingly never-ending hard to please people around you, or the facade you decided to wear, in a sad attempt to please those who cannot be pleased? After all, isn’t misrepresentation of yourself, the worst representation of all, since it does not reflect the real you?

What are you to do when going left wreaks havoc, and going right compounds things further to your disadvantage? Should you continue doing what makes you feel good, even at the risk of having your good intentions and gestures promptly returned to you, like a letter that unexpectedly comes back to you in the mail marked, ‘return to sender?’ In the end, you have to be pleased with yourself before you can please anyone else, right? Or are you simply reading this post while concluding, “Oh please!!”

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

A Morning of Mourning…

I’ve learned more in the past couple of months than I had ever hoped to. There are so many things about myself that I’ve never noticed before. Crucial situations can do that to a person. You don’t know what to expect until you’re in a situation. And even when you are in the situation, you still don’t know what to do or what to expect. You find yourself going through life in a kind of “trial by fire” frame of mind, getting burned here, singed there.

I spoke about loss in a previous post: Goodbye to My Girls – https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/goodbye-to-my-girls/ I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was in mourning when I wrote that piece. As a matter of fact, I think I still am. But it’s not the first time. My original surgery date had been scheduled for May 20, 2015. The morning of my surgery was a very emotional one for me. I was not prepared for the wave of emotions that washed over me, literally, as I showered for the last time with all in tact. I found myself feeling overwhelmingly apologetic for my decision to radically address my medical issue. I never imagined I would feel so guilty about it.

I arrived at the hospital, pretty calm as I recall. After all, I had had a very cleansing cry that morning. I had mourned that morning. So I felt pretty clear and a lot lighter. I remember talking to the staff in the operating room. The next thing I remember was the nurse whispering to me gently that the doctor would come and talk to me. I was too out of it to think that there might be something wrong. I felt a soreness on my left side, so I assumed it was from the radical surgery that had been performed. As I emerged from the anesthesia, reality greeted me with the cruelest twist. The surgery had not been performed due to a medical complication. What?!! This had to be the worst kind of joke. Either that, or I must have heard wrong. There was no way that I was put completely under anesthesia for a major surgical procedure, only to awake to find that it had not taken place. The more coherent I became, the clearer the picture came into view. My surgeon made the best call. He didn’t take any chances with risking proceeding forward and I get it. But I wasn’t prepared for the mental fall out of this interruption.

Fate had allowed me to mourn the loss of 2 vital parts of my anatomy and prepare for it mentally. I was thrilled that I had a little while longer to be in tact. But all that really did was mess my head up. I mean, here I sit, writing this piece, and I still don’t feel mentally ready, not the way I did on May 20th. The postponement opened the door for my mind to play tricks on me. I started to toy with the idea that maybe, just maybe, this surgery isn’t necessary at all. Life certainly wouldn’t be so cruel as to play this kind of joke on me, or would it? To say goodbye once is bad enough, but to have to say goodbye again, is more than anyone deserves.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Is Support M.I.A.?

Every now and then people do really nice things for one another. Some people are blessed enough to have this happen more times than they can count. Then there are those of us that have a hard time recalling when a gesture was made on our behalf that just blew us away. Well, I’m happy to say that I now know what that feels like.

A very good friend of mine knows all too well my struggle and is often on the receiving end of my ranting. Little did I know that she was gathering information to do the ultimate “good deed”. My friend took the time to research and set up a Gofundme campaign on my behalf and titled it: Hearts Connecting for Sylvia/shortlink: http://bit.ly/1ecBS8O or gofundme.com/heartsforSylvia. I don’t know who was more excited, her or me.

Aside from a handful of very giving people, the most peculiar thing is that the response has not been what we had hoped for. The campaign has been posted numerous times via social media. I am disheartened, disappointed, and down right sad to find that the people I expected to be supportive, are the ones that are quiet as a mouse. It costs nothing to share the link and make others aware of the cause, but that isn’t happening either.

When I view the campaign, it is astounding to me that there have been hundreds of visits to the page, but where is the support? Don’t people realize that a little goes a long, long way? A donation counts whether it’s $5.00 or $25.00, $50.00 or $500.00. Every bit helps and every bit counts. I would never have imagined I would be writing a post like this to express the urgency and the need. I have come to the aid of others on numerous occasions without a second thought. I’ve always been taught that if you’re blessed to give and show your support, than you should pay it forward.

I am trying so hard not to lose faith in people but this instance makes it very difficult. I feel like I’ve been walking a tight rope, slowly and cautiously, all the while thinking supportive people are behind me and there to catch me should I fall. But instead, I look over my shoulder, and not only are they not walking on the rope with me, but they they seem to have left the building. Many of these people I’ve known for many, many years so they know the strength of my character. The life battles that I am now fighting, have inspired me to be more transparent about my life than ever before. It’s not easy to be this open, but it does provide a kind of therapy to release my thoughts. I just need some support to carry the load. I may not be dying or on my last breath, thank God, but it’s a fight every day just to survive. So, I’m appealing to the goodness and selfless nature that I know must exist in most people.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

The Decision is In

Well, the decision is in. It happened just like I was told it would. Being faced with the daunting decision of whether or not to remove not only one part of my anatomy, but an additional and equally important part as well. Honestly, I hadn’t been toiling over the decision as much as a person might that found themselves in this position. I mean, I thought about it on and off, but there are always so many other things happening in my life, that my focus ends up in many different places, almost simultaneously. I guess that could be a good thing, because it doesn’t allow me to dwell on any one thing. Instead, I flit around from one issue to the next, sharing little pieces of my attention respectively, much like a bee that buzzes around from flower to flower. After all, there are so many choices. I wonder how the bees decide where to begin.

On the morning of my follow up appointment with my surgeon, I woke up and I knew immediately what I was going to do. There wasn’t any fuss or muss and I saw things with a clarity that isn’t always a part of my decision-making process and for that, I am very thankful. As I lay there calmly, looking around my bedroom, the decision floated into view as vividly as the clouds in once blue skies, that signal the impending rain that is sure to follow.

Okay, so that part is done and I am content with my decision. Well, as content as anyone in this predicament could be. However, the hardest part is still to come. Yes, I have come to a decision concerning breast cancer surgery but along with this knowledge comes the fact that I will be minus two parts of my anatomy that I have lived with my entire life. My breasts have always been a special part of my body and I’ve always valued and revered their beauty, their purpose. I can’t help but wonder what a woman does when she has this mastectomy surgery that removes her entire breast(s)? How does she feel about herself when she looks in the mirror? Does she worry about how her husband/mate, family and friends will view her post-surgery? I am now that woman with all these questions.

I’ve had my share of surgeries in my life time but this one will be the most intricately personal one by far. A woman’s breasts can instill a whole lot of pride or they cause her to bear the brunt of much shame, when faced with their surgical removal. However, I will remain alive and well as a result of this decision. Beauty may be only skin-deep, but this experience will no doubt make me a more beautiful person from within. That is what matters most, right? I’d say, the decision is in!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

The “C” Factor

Well, it has been confirmed. The big “C” has reared its ugly head again. Cancer has returned in almost the identical fashion that it did 13+ years ago. Wow! I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. I feel like I’m watching a movie that I’ve seen before. I’m still the main character although other players have changed. However, the results are bothering me much more this time around than it did the first time. It may have been because I was younger when it happened, all those years ago. My youth afforded me a kind of invincible mindset. Now, being more mature, the true gravity of my situation is in full view, the highest definition. The reality of it all keeps welling up in my mind, over and over again, like an unpredictable wave that comes and goes, only to come back again in full force.

I suppose it goes without saying that I got little to no sleep last night. I kept waking up to assure myself, that it had to be a dream. There was no way that cancer could have entered my life again. But of course, reality came crashing over me as I realized that cancer had indeed come to visit me again. I wish I could take the core of my being and my conscience mind outside of my body and view this next act of my life without having to feel all the emotions and damage that come with this kind of thing.

The gamut of emotions that I’ve experienced since I spoke with the doctor last night, have ranged any where from denial to anger, from hopefulness to despair. I must admit, I’ve even had a little pity party with no one in attendance but me. I must have asked myself at least 100 times, why this was happening to me again? Why was this recurring after all this time? Could it be that my faith wasn’t strong enough to carry me and drive my belief in God’s power to heal all things no matter how intrusive and disruptive to my world they are? I guess we could all use some improvement in the area of faith and I am certainly no exception to the rule.

Now, comes the painstaking discussions, as to how to proceed. I have pretty much deducted what my options will be, especially with this intruder returning for a second time. But knowing my options doesn’t make it any easier to arrive at any decisions. I just hope and pray that I make the right ones. It’s so hard to take myself out of the process when this whole thing is so personal. How do I remain objective in a situation like this? May God be with me, as He always is!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Not Knowing Could Kill You!!

We all have routine things that we have to do and revisit from time to time. For the most part, we can often expect the same outcome. So we go about our business, not expecting any different results. For example: a routine medical appointment. You’ve had several follow-up appointments in the past and usually they have been uneventful, thank God. But then comes a time, maybe two, when you are caught completely off guard.

If you are anything like me, you may tend to do the majority of things in life on your own, flying ‘solo’ in most cases. Now, this may be for any number of reasons. It may be personal preference, or the fact that your usual support system is unavailable at the times when you could really benefit from their physical and emotional presence. For me, it’s a combination of both.

Yesterday, I went to my annual mammogram screening. Actually, I was overdue for my screening which is still a mystery to me. I could have sworn I had a screening in 2014, but records show that I had not had a screening since 2013. Wow! I really missed the mark on that one. I’m a real stickler when it comes to following up on all of my medical appointments, or so I thought. Yet somehow, this one escaped me. Forgive the old cliché in this instance, ‘but better late than never’.

As I sat in the lobby and watched people come and go, I noticed that quite a few women arrived in pairs. I’ve often heard of this ‘buddy’ system when attending mammogram screenings. The emotional support must be priceless. I’ve seen this many times before but for some reason, it really stood out to me yesterday. How I wished I had someone with me, if for nothing but to pass the time away.

I observed quietly while a pair of women would emerge from their testing, receive their favorable results and prepare to leave. They always seemed to be in such high spirits. After all, a clean bill of health in this instance is reason to be jubilant. I couldn’t help but wonder as I watched numerous women come and go, if they would go some place nice for lunch once they left the facility. Did they meet up with other friends to celebrate their favorable outcomes?

I continued to catch up on some reading while I waited for my results. I expected to be called from the left side of the room where those that have been screened are called into a specific room to receive their results. For some reason when my name was called, it came from the right side of the room; where people are called that still have to have their screenings done. My heart started pounding as I contemplated why I was being called from that side of the room. A technician greeted me with a wonderful demeanor and an infectious smile while advising me that a few more images were needed. If only she knew the bullets I was sweating and that she stood directly in the line of fire – an unsuspecting target, much like I felt as we made our way down the lengthy hallway.

This immediately took me back, a kind of de ja vu.  The year was 2001. At that time, I was again waiting patiently for my results when a technician informed me that the doctor needed a few more images. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with breast cancer during the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of that year. Imagine that! Thankfully, it was caught in time. As a result, I am a survivor – a title I only want to hold once as it pertains to this potentially deadly disease.

As I followed the technician down the seemingly never ending hallway, I heard my heart beating loud and clear. I was convinced that the technician could hear it too. Several more images were taken at which point I was directed back to the waiting room. I noticed a few women noticing me return back to the same seat I was in before. I could almost see the questions within their kind facial expressions. There was a silent camaraderie that we all shared and that was both understood and appreciated. We were all there for the same reason(s), whether in pairs or alone as I was. I realized then and there, the beauty in this kind of unspoken sisterhood where no words or conversation is necessary.

Again, I was called from the right side of the room and asked if I was able to stay for an ultrasound. Oh my God! This could not be happening. Of course, I agreed as I couldn’t imagine leaving there without any and all necessary testing being performed. The doctor that performed the ultrasound was a breath of fresh air. He was very kind and thoroughly explained the images to me and the importance of looking deeper into his findings to ensure my health and safety. He even gave me his personal cell phone number to contact him if we miss each other concerning the results which should be available some time today.

By the end of a visit that began at 11:00am on yesterday, I had completed a needle biopsy in addition to all the other testing. I was able to finally leave after 3:00pm with many thanks from staff for my patience. Evidently, some people get really upset when they find they need to stay far beyond what they had originally planned for. I wasn’t happy about spending my whole day there, but I am very pleased and thankful for the prompt and thorough attention that was extended to me. I would much rather allow all the required testing while I’m there, rather than come back and forth at a later time. For me, it’s a no-brainer. Sometimes, we have to be inconvenienced in order to get to the bottom of red flags that we are made aware of when it comes to our health. After all, it’s the not knowing that could kill you, right?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Racism 101 – An Unsolicited Introduction

Evidently, I am no different than most mothers out there. From the moment I first laid eyes on my son as a baby, I knew I would do anything in this world to protect him. I truly thought I could protect him from all the things that could threaten his tiny little world. Little did I know that my incredible desire to shield him from all negativity would not only last throughout his life, but increase by leaps and bounds over time.

Being the African American mother of a male child, is no easy task, especially when doing so alone. The careful shaping and molding of a young boy into a man without any handbook or instructions to refer to. After all, I am not a man. My main hope as a young mother, was to instill the vital morals and values within my son that would later manifest and help to solidify his manhood. There always seemed to be so much to share and make him aware of and that is still true today. I often wish I could pour my knowledge and experience into him as a kind of ‘heads up’ to the many storms that life can unexpectedly rain down on a person. But we all know that it’s impossible to make our children aware of every little thing, try as we might. Trial and error has proven to be a constant teacher in my son’s world and to this day he is still an unsuspecting student.

In spite of some kicking and screaming, my son made it into manhood. It’s so interesting to watch him evolve a little bit each day. There are times when I am stunned by the level of growth and transformation taking place. Sometimes life allows him to ease into situations and adjust at a comfortable pace, while there are other times when life slams him hard, forcing him to face the oftentimes deafening music of real life.

A couple mornings ago, my son woke me up at 6:00am to tell me about an incident that happened while he was delivering newspapers on his route, one of two jobs he holds. I was stunned by what he was saying, so much so that I sat up in bed with a spring-board like reaction. He proceeded to tell me about his encounter with a man in the wee hours of the morning during his delivery. It didn’t take long for my son to figure out that this man was a full-fledged racist. This particular morning, my son was late delivering the newspapers and as a result, he crossed paths with an ugly evil that he was not expecting. My son said he asked the man three times if the paper he was about to deliver belonged to him, as the man would not move out of his path. The man just stood there like a statue, not moving left nor right, backward or forward and not responding in any way. My son finally gave up and carefully maneuvered around the man and threw the paper past him.

This action seemed to set this peculiar being off. He started yelling at my son while to calling him a monkey and threatening to report him for throwing the newspaper to close to him. Really? This man then proceeded to grab the paper up from where my son had tossed it and began to dismantle it. My son asked the man AGAIN if it was his newspaper. The man started spewing the word monkey and other racial slurs in an onslaught of negative rapid fire. Thankfully, the man’s words were not bullets, or my son may have met with a very different outcome.

No doubt the verbal attack penetrated my son as a human being far deeper than any bullets could have. I’m sure my son didn’t tell me every word that was exchanged between the two but I’m sure he had some choice words for the bigot that stood before him. My son did express that this is 2015 and that here this man was with these ignorant prejudices and distorted beliefs of years long since passed. Years that have transpired yes, but unfortunately have left their relative behaviors and backward thinkers behind.

I have to say that as his mother, I felt my heart breaking twice over as he told me this story; once for the pain and shock it must have been for him to encounter this hatred full on, and secondly for the pain of knowing that the one thing I wish I could spare him from the most, blatantly introduced itself without warning nor provocation. There was nothing I could do about it. If only there was a channel I could change and flip to another station. Unfortunately, it’s an ugly life truth that exists in full living color on a seemingly never ending wide screen. Everyone plays their role in life and then in walks an unwanted extra, onto the scene without solicitation.

How do we prepare our children for the outrageous and vicious behaviors of others that can break out at any time? I don’t think anything really prepares them until they’ve actually met this ignorance face to face. I’m just thankful that things ended with my son walking away. In spite of the nature of this incident, he handled the situation like an adult and didn’t allow it to provoke him into doing anything he might later regret. I couldn’t be more proud of him. As ugly as this incident was, I am confident that it has cemented a much needed awareness in my son that he will definitely need as he continues to walk out his life journey!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

June 2017
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