Know thyself

sbyxSo, I’m sitting in a Starbucks in a very nice neighborhood having some tea and borrowing their wireless connection when it happens…

Four men come in to the store. They appear to be of Middle Eastern descent and are wearing Muslim clothing and speaking in Arabic. They are very nice to the baristas, take their coffee to a corner, laugh, talk and generally seem to enjoy their time in the store. Then they leave.

And I feel myself physically relax. The tension leaving me is palpable. And as I look around the store, I can see a change in several of the faces around the room.

And now I feel horrible. I always try to be open minded. Always look for the best in people; to give them the benefit of the doubt. I truly believe you can’t blame an entire race of people for the acts of a few extremists.

But I had a reaction. A visceral reaction.

It leaves me wondering what life must be like for those men. They had to have felt the change in the store when they came in. They probably feel it every where they go.

I know nothing about them, except that they like coffee. They could have lived here their entire lives. They could own a non-profit that is saving the lives of local children. They could be discovering the cure for cancer that may save my life someday.

I don’t know them. I just know that this time I had a reaction. And maybe next time I won’t. Maybe by sharing this, next time you won’t either.


2 thoughts on “Know thyself

  1. I look at it this way: Being wary of strangers is innate. Or it is in some people. It’s in our genes. It’s a protection mechanism. In this day and age, some people ignore that intuitive feeling because they don’t want to be labelled as “racist” or “discriminating.” Then bad things happen and people get hurt. Too many people are oblivious to their surroundings.
    I say it’s better to be safe than sorry. I watch people and my surroundings. Call it paranoid, but it has saved myself and my children on more than one occasion. I don’t care what color you are or what religion you practice; I will be wary of you if I don’t know you.
    There’s a huge difference between being careful and being a jerk to someone. 🙂

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