Despite the seemingly always depressing news about the state of race relations in this country, every once in a while the media will publish a story or two proving that things are not so bad after all.
Two stories went viral last week that got the nation’s attention involving blacks, one involving a black youth and one an older black gentleman. Neither story was about police brutality or their mistreatment at the hands of whites. On the contrary, both stories proved that not all white people are out to get blacks while simultaneously defying stereotypes about black teens and black men not wanting to work.
One incident happened in North Carolina. A black teen prepping for a job interview that was happening within minutes went into a Target store near his interview. He was in search of a clip-on tie which the store did not sell, only regular ties. But the teen did not know how to tie a tie and and once the Target employee, a white gentleman, named Dennis Roberts, realized the problem, he decided to help the young man. He helped not only with tying his new tie, but also with lots of advice about his job interview. He kindly instructed the teen on things like using a firm handshake and looking his interviewer in the eye, and much more. The whole scene was captured on video by a store customer who at first was curious about what was going on.
The customer commented: “It was a very quiet, simple moment, but it was very profound...He leaves and all these Target employees are screaming ‘Bye! Good luck! Tell us how it went.’ I got so emotional. I got teary.”
Another much talked about and shared incident took place in Detroit. A 56-year-old black man, James Robertson, was discovered to have a commute to beat all commutes. It wasn’t so much the distance but the fact that he walked it. He walked 21 miles every day to and from his job. His work ethic and commitment to work touched a nerve in a lot of people. One 19 year old college student, a white kid, started a crowdfunding page for the worker and raised over $330,000 in donations for the man. A local Ford dealership also awarded Robertson with a new red Ford Taurus so he wouldn’t have to walk anymore.
I wish more stories like this made the news. I am quite sure that while the incident of the 21 mile commute and the raising of over $330,000 is not an everyday event, there are certainly many cases of people helping people across color lines. Those everyday happenings are simply not newsworthy. Bad news sells papers and gets ratings for the most part. So I am glad that somehow both of these stories broke through. From where I sit and in my experience there are a lot more people getting along every day and helping each other regardless of race or religion. What they know about race relations is what they read about in the news and see on television. And if that is all you know then you probably think things are pretty darn bad and that there is a lot of hatred out there.
There is certainly some. But as these two stories prove, there are a lot more good people out there doing what they do to simply be human and be kind to others, regardless of what they look like. And as those stories also prove, there are black teens and black men doing the right thing when it comes to earning a living. Two stories that busted several stereotypes at once. I love it.
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