House Story, Chapter 13

Flagstone Walkwayphotography by D. Plasman

Nothing like putting in a flagstone walkway to get you through winter. This beauty replaces a crumbling cement one that once led up to the house we’re rehabbing. Many thanks to Staff Sergeant Michael Lindsay of the U.S. Army for helping me with this and other outdoor projects over a two-week period last month.

Today, I’m reminded of trailblazers, pathmakers, and flagstone layers who’ve created a way for others to follow. On this day in history (12/1/1955) in Montgomery, AL, seamstress Rosa Parks, an active member of the NAACP, refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus. The police arrested her. What resulted was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks later became known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”

I’m in a prayerful mood. In light of recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, MO, and in light of what blacks continue to endure, I offer a white man’s prayer.

I thank you, O God, for creating me a white man. In your wisdom, you have bestowed upon me innumerable privileges. Be pleased to hear from me the ones that come to mind. I thank you that I’m a member of a race that is never depicted on TV or in the movies as a token minority. I thank you that when I choose to buy a shirt at a local Goodwill Store, no one interprets my action as a situation of my race.

I thank you that my race has never caused a security guard to follow me through a department store. I thank you that I’ve never been referred to as “you people.” I thank you that my race has never been a factor on those occasions when I’ve been pulled over. (It was my excessive speeding every time!) I thank you that when I stop at a red light, the driver of the car next to me doesn’t immediately press the lock button because of my race. I thank you that if I, or any of my race, should decide to run for political office on a national level, none of us will be asked repeatedly for our birth certificate.

And finally, Holy God, should I ever have an altercation with a law enforcement officer during which I am belligerent though unarmed, I can be sure—because of my whiteness—that I won’t be shot at least six times, including twice in the head, like that black kid Michael Brown. For these and all the privileges of my race, I give you thanks. Amen.

[For previous installments of A House Story go to www.danielplasman.com/blog/ and pull down the CATEGORIES menu and select A House Story]

 

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5 Comments

  1. Dennis Keefed December 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Right on, brother! We d’ men! It’s God’s will!

  2. Rosanne December 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    Thank you, Dan.

    What is stunning is that most people don’t believe they support this kind of thinking and action until a mirror like this one reflects what those “other” people are doing and some feel just a little uncomfortable for just a little while.

  3. Chris December 1, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Wow Dan .. We will never know what it is like to be black in America. Your post got made me anxious and pissed off (not at you!)

  4. Ken dagner December 2, 2014 at 3:22 am #

    Oh my Mr. Plasman, you continue to amaze me. I just finished the book “White like Me”. and have ” Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes” on order. Folks talk about the ethnic fighting in the third world countries, but can’t even begin to deal with it in our own country. A very sad state of affairs indeed!

  5. Dr. Don December 4, 2014 at 1:12 am #

    You are entirely right about white privilege. On an SUV trip through southern Arizona, I chose a less-traveled desert route as a shortcut. A mile away, I saw another SUV moving to intercept me. As I neared the intersection, I saw it was a Border Patrol vehicle. I slowed so they could see me, gave them a friendly wave, and drove on without incident. Do I think I would have gotten a free pass had I looked Hispanic, or Native American, or Middle Eastern, or anything swarthy? Two chances: Slim and none.