MY NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR is an American with an African heritage and a down-to-the-ground sense of humor.
I was chatting with him and his son-in-law when out of the blue he said, “The KKK is going to have a rally here. Are you going to march with them?”
“Dude,” I said, “I’m not that white.”
I expected him and his son-in-law to laugh. But it caught me off guard when they kept laughing.
I’m not sure why they laughed so long.
I should have asked.
I wonder if it’s because their skin is dark and mine is, well, cracker white.
Or maybe it’s because after nearly a lifetime of dealing with racial tension, it’s nice to finally be able to laugh about differences that used to get us more ticked than having to pee in the wind.
Here’s the problem. Some people aren’t laughing.
I’m not only white. I’m Protestant. That double-dips me in “Majority.”
I sympathize with minorities.
Every time a white guy gets pulled over by a cop, at least two black guys get pulled over, according to some studies I’ve read.
That’s wrong. I hate that it happens. But I can’t really relate to it because I’m not dark enough. A cop hasn’t pulled me over in 40 years. Knock on wood. Something light. Maple, not mahogany.
At least I couldn’t relate before Sunday.
Things changed on Sunday.
I became Jewish.
Not the religion. The race.
At least in spirit, and more if the spirit can leach into the DNA.
When a shooter drove to the Overland Park Jewish Community Center and shot three Christians because he thought they were Jews, I took it personally. I said so in Monday’s blog post, Hitler came to my Passover meal.
I’m still taking it personally.
When that shooter pulled the trigger, two miles south, I was eating my first-ever Passover meal. A kindhearted Jewish lady was hosting my Bible study group in her home. She was not just any kindhearted Jewish lady. She was a kindhearted Jewish lady who was part of our group. One of us.
Most troubling of all, her daughter was working at the Jewish Community Center when the shooting started.
If the shooter was trying to get me to hate Jews, like the suspect says he hates Jews, he ding dong dang well picked the wrong time to pull the trigger.
And he shot the wrong people, all Christians, two from my church. Maybe he hated Jews so much that everyone looked like a Jew, whatever a Jew is supposed to look like.
I don’t feel as though he attacked Jews.
I feel as though he attacked me.
He went after a Chosen group of souls I was connecting to at that very moment. And he terrorized the daughter of one of them—while I was in the mom’s home.
When the daughter called from lockdown in the Jewish Community Center, I was standing near the mother.
I didn’t feel like a white Protestant.
I felt like a target.
Ding dong dang those Hell’s bells, we’re 2,000 years past Paul, and what have we got to say for ourselves when we read his description of God’s kingdom on earth:
There is no Jew or Greek. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. Because you belong to Christ Jesus, you are all one.
We’re not all one.
We don’t all belong to Jesus.
A lot of folks who say they do are the sick souls who would buy a license to bow-hunt Jews, blacks, and Mexicans if they could.
What do we need, another 2,000 years?
Dude’s, we’re not this white.