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There I was very diligently trying to hate black people, and there you were making doing so seem as stupid as it is simply by smiling at me.Having drowned the trauma of your smile in cheap beer and hate-rock over the course of a week, I was taken aback by your warm greeting upon my return, this time amplified with your recognition of me.But when I walked into Mc Donald’s for that third payday Big Mac, you took no offense.
Dear nice old black lady at Mc Donald’s, I think of you fondly and often, and I talk about you all the time.
You wouldn’t think that a cumulative five minutes of contact at a fast food restaurant over the course of a few weeks could help change the course of a life, and subsequently change the course of countless other lives, but that’s exactly what happened.
Yet a seed was planted in my heart that day you saw it behind the swastika.
A seed hardy enough to take root and sprout in the desolation of fear and ignorance. Together with my family that refused to give up on me, and my daughter who needed me, the kindness of peace warriors like yourself brought love to my life until there was no longer room for hate.
A nonagenarian black man once told me that I gave him hope.
An eleven year-old Latino boy told me he could see how bad I felt for hurting people and that he felt sorry for me. Countless lives were involved leading me to where I am now, and countless people have been inspired to live more compassionately after hearing my story.
It would have been nice if that experience of humanity changed me on the spot, but it didn’t.
I went back to my dingy house and got drunk out my mind, blasting white power music with my white power buddies, and slurring some nonsense about Jews taking my money from my paycheck and giving it to lazy black people.
We set out on the streets to find someone to beat up.
People were beaten that night, and throughout the next seven years, for no reason other than the color of their skin, their assumed homosexuality, their religion, or just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.