Thursday, July 2, 2009

Slapped in Texas (Momma Wasn’t a Racist)

“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:1,9, nasb).

My mother raised me on her own when my father left. Yes, we were poor living in Lubbock in the panhandle of Texas.

I walked to school barefoot many days, and after school and on Saturdays we drove to the countryside to pick cotton. When I got tired of picking as a small boy, I would hide in the shade of the cotton wagon where my mother would later find me and whip me back to the fields.

With what little we had, Mommy Ruth was the best cook in the world. On Saturdays we always had beans, onions, cornbread and buttermilk. It was like dying and going to heaven!

Mother taught me how to work hard, be thankful, be kind to others (especially older folks), and to love blacks. I still remember when I was about six or seven, I saw my first African-American. He was walking in downtown Lubbock. I stared at him and said,
“Mom, look at that black...!”
My mother was driving, but immediately slapped me hard back-handed and said,
“Douglas Lee, don’t you ever call a black person those bad words! A Negro is just as good as you will ever be. Always show respect for all people no matter what color they are.”
Now, this was the South, in Texas, in the late 1940s! Prejudiced to the core!

I remembered that painful slap for many years! Once when I was about 12 year old, I was getting on a bus in El Paso, Texas, late at night. A large black lady was getting on in front of me struggling with her luggage. I picked up one of her bags, took her by the arm, and helped her. When we got on the bus, she turned to thank me and saw this little white boy. She immediately took her arm away and said,
“Young man, you can’t do that. Don’t you know where we are (meaning the racist South)?”
I simply answered,
“Ma’am, I am more afraid of what my mom will do to me if I don’t help you than what anyone else would do.”
She smiled and said,
“Well, young man, you can just take my arm and help me all you want! I sure like your mother!”
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9-10, nasb).

No comments: