define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); Pastor Ralph Diehl » Blog Archive » THE RACE CARD


   Posted by: pastordiehl   in Hot Potato Politics

There’s been a lot in the news about Professor Gates and Officer Crowley lately. Even President Obama got into the act, saying the officer acted “stupidly”, and inviting them both to the White House for a beer. The news media has hyped this small incident up into a fever. Was Officer Crowley unfair to Gates because he was black, or did Professor Gates ramp up the encounter as an “educational tool”?

Being raised in a small Indiana town, I had absolutely no contact with any blacks as a child. My first experience around them was in Basic Training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Two black soldiers stick out in my mind. The first was Private Corley, a sharp, athletic young man from Chicago. He excelled at everything we did and came out as the top soldier in my company. Everyone liked him. Then there was Private Armour, also from Chicago. He was a big, overweight, dim witted guy who hated whites and the Army. He was finally hauled off to the stockade for having smuggled a fifth of whiskey into his locker.

My first military assignment was to work in Post Headquarters at Fort Knox, during the height of the Vietnam War. There were a lot of brass working in that office building, but I don’t remember one black person of any rank working there. Perhaps that was racial profiling in itself.

My next assignment was to work in an espionage unit headquartered in Augsburg, Germany, during the Cold War. One of the men working in my office was a black man from New Jersey (I think), whose name was John. He was educated and his father was serving as a State Senator back home. We became good friends. Back then, the common white term for blacks was “colored”. Whenever anyone would refer to a “colored man”, he would interrupt and ask “What color”? And he pressed the issue until the offender backed down. He insisted we use the term “black”. My respect for black people as equals came from my experience with him and Private Corley. I think too many of us stereo-type all blacks as Private Armours.

What is your personal experience with someone of another race?


This entry was posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009 at 8:00 am and is filed under Hot Potato Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

10 comments so far

Sharon Servis With A Smile

I have many experiences because I worked and lived in Chicago and South Carolina, with large minority populations. Like you, they have a range. I really have known only one who was difficult. I finally figured out SHE was prejudiced against whites. In Chicago, they were some of our best workers. I was raised not to be prejudiced, so I have had wonderful black neighbors in the Carolinas to a very, very excellent emplyee in Auburn, Indiana. She was the first person I hired after coming here in 1989. My most vivid recollection was my Dad giving farm employment to blacks when I was a small child. He would leave and go to work second shift at the Weyerhauser mill and trust them to be alone with his family. He had family picnics and invited them all to come. Old “Sully” was very black, where most folks are really brown today. My Dad just understood them and knew how to get them to finish a job with incentives, and he never paid them until the job was complete. God loves all people the same, and so should we.

August 3rd, 2009 at 10:36 am
Lee Everetts

Like you, the military was the primary place where I first encountered blacks. Basic training at Ft. Knox kind of bonded everyone but we didn’t intermingle much. At Ft. Gordon Ga., I had good black friend, Henry Simms. On a Saturday night Henry went into Augusta with us white guys. You know what it was like back then, GIs out on the town on a Saturday night. We suddenly realized Henry was missing. We later saw Henry back at the barracks, not realizeing it at the time, but we were in an area where blacks we not welcome. Not being from the south I didn’t know, but Henry knew. Henry would do favors for me and I for him. Once there was something I didn’t want to do and that was it, as far as Henry was concerned we weren’t friends any longer. I guess he wasn’t as good a friend as I thought, anyway I felt bad about the incident. I remember getting a place off base and the landlord saying he wouldn’t rent to blacks. Moveing on to Germany changed my perspective. I remember taking my wife to a movie on post. The black men were the first to arrive and they sat in every other seat in the move theater, not allowing whites to sit together. The brass took care of that, although the base was racially charged. About the only blacks that I remember being friendly were married to white girls. As my tour was about up, Linda flew back to the states and I moved on base to clear post. My bunk mate was a black soldier. He was angry and had a chip on his shoulder concerning whitey. It was the first time I had things stolen in the army. From shoes, to things I had locked in my locker. Things that were gifts from home, and I had a chain on my locker. If blacks were in a group they were bolder, and confrontational, while being by themselves they weren’t that way. There were alot or racial incidents on post. My perspective of blacks while in the military took a plunge. My next encounter came at work. I was chosen to teach training classes for a period of 2 yrs. Two black women were in charge of the training dept. I butted heads with some good ole boys and the chips started to fall. The black women were among my strongest supporters and what was to be 2 yrs turned into 8 yrs. I became good friends with a black gentleman who pastored a church in Ft. Wayne. All three are like family to me. I like to remember the good. I’ve met other black people recently and they were very nice. What I see today is not like it was back then. I think there are people who make a living keeping things stirred up. I would be just as happy with a good black neighbor as a good white neighbor. I’ve had some bad white neighbors and it’s no picnic.

August 3rd, 2009 at 4:00 pm
Lee Everetts

I’m sure I wasn’t the friend to Henry that he thought I was! (This was omitted from lthe previous comment)

August 3rd, 2009 at 6:52 pm
Paul Brewer

Growing up on the West coast as a child, I guess I was exposed to people of all races so I never really thought much about it at all.

My firt job in a Factory in Fort Wayne again I was exposed to different races. I do remember one black man who seemed to dislike everyone even the other black people in our department. The other black people seemed not to care much for him either.

One thing I have learned over the years is the color of the skin does not determin the the type of person one is. I have seen serveral good and bad regardless of their skin tone.

I just thank God that he is totally blind when it comes to race and or creed and cares only about our soles as should the rest of us.

August 3rd, 2009 at 8:15 pm
Rene' Bute

I think that the officer in question should have backed down once the prof showed ID that he was indeed the homeowner. His failure to chill out caused the prof to go over the edge too, and the whole thing has steamrolled into a ridiculous mess. I saw the woman on TV the other day that made to original 911 call. She seemed genuinely upset that the race issue was being applied to this situation at all. She saw someone ‘breaking into’ the house and made the call. We won’t ever really know if she would have called regardless of the race of the person that she thought was breaking in, but I certainly hope that MY neighbors would call whether the guy was white or black or purple. Maybe the key issue here is the the two guys involved were hot-headed JERKS rather than RACIST.
I grew up in a small town, rural area that looked down on blacks and mexicans both. Ironically, my father’s best friend in school was black, and my dad made it clear that everyone has the potential to be an idiot. My personal experience has shown me that ANYONE can be a jerk, ridiculous, lazy, have bad grammar, be a waste of space, be less educated, be a bigot….etc, etc regardless of race or the shade of their skin.
I don’t lock my doors and caution our children about the evils around them because there are black people running around, I do it because there are CREEPS of all kinds out there. I am glad that my 6 year old daughter was excited that a black man became president. Maybe we are on the right track with this generation. Maybe THEY will finally see PEOPLE and not colors.

August 3rd, 2009 at 11:26 pm
Tammy Mack

My great-aunt that I visited every week-end until I was 5, lived in the middle of a black neighborhood. So all of my first friends were “black”. The only “white” children I knew were my cousins. I struggled when we moved to DeKalb county understanding “white” kids. Two of my aunts married African-American. I never meet the one, but I loved my Uncle Berry. I remember when he would come to visit, the family would come at night. And he wouldn’t go out of the house, because he didn’t want to put us in danger. I never understood until I grow up that Indiana was known for the KKK. I have had many African-American friends in my life, along with my cousins. Though Ken’s years in the military and my kids I am meeting people from all over the world. And I’ve learned the all the same (some good, some bad). Laugh: When Sunshine was in Kindergarten a “black” girl (no name) was picking on her. I talking to the teacher about the problem, she informed only one “black” girl in the class. But when she went to call the child over, Sunshine said “No not her, that girl there” The girl had black hair. It all depends on how we look at things.

August 4th, 2009 at 7:32 am
Mike Albaugh

My first encounter with a different race was military also. Floyd Bell, one of the nicest people I have ever met. He carried our flag and represented our platoon well. He shocked me one day when he asked what I thought of blacks. It set me back for a bit because I had not formed an opinion nor was I racist. We had been raised to respect all people and I had to think what to say. When I worked for Beazer Homes, we had mexican drywallers and painters. All were good workers, doing work at that time that no white person would do. Now the white guys would be glad to have a job in the housing trade!! We need to stay focused on our problem and not people. It’s Satan that comes to kill, steal and destroy. Like Rene says, we all can have a bad side from time to time. We are all God’s kids trying to be more like Jesus, or at least we should be!

August 4th, 2009 at 8:16 am
kerry Dickey

my first experience with a colored person was at Ball State in Muncie as I met Wesley in the fall of 1978. He had transfered from the University of Southern California where his father was a proffessor. He grew tired of being under his fathers constant watchful eye and had dreams of his own. we were to be roommates but as fate would have I decided to live off campus ,but he became a successful doctor in Louisville Kentucky. When we lived in South Carolina Freda and I would go to the food bank in the center of the city and that’s where we met Miss Mae as we eveentually would help her in praying for the prostitutes, people in deep poverty and many others with problems. she was deep into the Lord and taught us alot about looking into the hearts of people as God does and finding something good about them regardless of how they were treated otherwise. She worked with a white pastor and his wife to run this place, and I was very humbled as was Freda just to be there as this was not a safe place to be. God loves all of his children, Red or Yellow or Black or White. all in love KerryD.

August 4th, 2009 at 7:56 pm
Char Kincaid

I grew up in west central Indiana and there were no people of color in our very rural area. I remember my dad being very prejudiced but never understanding why. I remember becoming very irate with him, even at a young age. I remember saying to him that it shouldn’t matter what color people are on the outside; on the inside, we’re all just people and we all bleed the same red. I learned, even from him, that all people are created by God, so I could never understand his prejudiced attitudes. I think people really are afraid of things beyond their own experiences. The difference is how we react; some people just live in their own little worlds while others branch out and try to learn about things beyond themselves. My first personal experience with people of another race was when I went away to college. I roomed with two girls, both who were black. Jeneen is awesome and we had very open discussions about race. We became friends and she even went home with me on some weekends. That’s when I saw my dad’s attitudes begin to change. He saw Jeneen as a “person” rather than a “black person.” Today, with all the technology, our entire world is becoming so small. It is really very sad that a person’s ignorance or prejudice (often passed down from generations, not even from one’s own experiences) would prevent them from experiencing relationships with people of other races or nationalities, simply because of differences in skin color and preconceived ideas.

August 6th, 2009 at 9:53 pm
Tara Lilly

I have had far too many experiences with people of other races to describe here, but they have been overwhelming positive. To the political question: It was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that said over 40 years ago that he hoped there would be a day when a person would be judged not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character. This attitude would require true forgiveness of all past wrongs, and a new thinking in society where everyone on all sides stopped considering race and labeling based on race. The above-mentioned example suggests that there are some people who have no intention of moving in that direction, making race the most important characteristic of a person. I have observed our President in word and deed, and I am sorry to say that he appears to be in that camp. I for one will continue to strive to be like Jesus: color-blind.

August 9th, 2009 at 4:34 am

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