True Colors

True Colors

I spent part of this day with a physician specialist. He told me I need a delicate eye surgery; he is arranging for me to meet “the top doctor in the country [in the field].”

My doc scanned his computer and said, “I want you to look at his photo.” He showed me a photo of a bearded Indian man in a lab coat and wearing a turban. I asked, “Why are you showing me this?” He was showing me the photo because some of his patients would die before receiving care from an Indian man in a turban, top doctor in the country or not.

If this sounds strange to you, I have written before of a plumber who worked on my basement and said he wanted to bring in an expert he knew, but he warned me that the expert was Black. After a huge storm in Godfrey, Ameren sent out representatives to check on customers without power. My rep was a young Black lineman. I asked how it was going. Fine, the man said, except for those white people who told him they wanted a white representative instead of him, to come into their home.

Without knowing the results of the election at 5:21 this afternoon, what will become of these men if our country succumbs to hate? What is it like to be Black or Indian or Asian or Latino, even when you’re a specialist? I, of course, don’t know.

I do know, I fear for the women in my life. I fear for my friends of color. I fear that millions of the Pale Tribe believe in superiority and are willing to act violently. I do understand that, because I have seen it in my family, my town, my state, my country.

I once sat next to Judy Collins and legendary folksinger Pete Seeger in a green room before a televised concert. I watched Mr. Seeger tune his banjo, the words on the body of the instrument reading, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”

Perhaps you are cynical and believe that slogan has outlived its time. I am a sceptic, yet I believe we all must surround hate. Or . . .

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