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Sun Aug 31, 2014, 12:41 PM

Just witnessed an act of racism [View all]

It is what a friend described as "harmless" and what another stated was just because of "economics."

There's a little convenient store on the corner. Privately owned and the only place within walking distance for about a 3 block radius. The owner is not white and not African American. Everyone that works there is family.

A black man walked in, a guy I have seen in the neighborhood, and in that store, a few times. He simply asked, "do you have any matches?" To my complete surprise, the answer he was given was, "no." The gentleman politely thanked the shopkeeper and left.

When I was done grabbing my few things and went to check out, I asked for a pack of matches. Something I had been given at this store numerous times. I was given a pack of matches. I asked why I could have a pack but that man couldn't. I received a little sheepish grin as an answer. I just simply stated, "shame on you."

When relaying this story to a couple friends, I was told by one that it was harmless. The other friend stated that it was "purely economics since the guy didn't buy anything." Since I have gotten matches there when not purchasing anything, as have others, I know that is a bullshit excuse. It also was not what was stated to the gentleman asking for the matches or what I was given for the reason they supposedly had none for him.

As tiny a thing this may seem to be, it is indicative of the enormous problem we have with racism in this country. Both the excuses by others and the act itself.

My remark, "shame on you," may do absolutely nothing. But if more people spoke up when witnessing a willful act of discrimination, maybe there would be fewer.

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