365 Journal Entries

Capturing life's momentary events

How much do you charge?

One of the recurring themes of the south is prejudice. I always sit incredulous as someone tells me their story. A story of snobbery, jealously, and "good ol' boy networks." It makes me ill.

How many times have I heard the story of a black man out mowing his lawn when a white man pulls up to ask what he charges for yard work. Over and over this has actually occurred. It's never occurred to these folks that the black man OWNS the house.

My favorite, and true, story is of Ted. He was out mowing his lawn when an old white man and his wife drove up in a Cadillic. He leaned over his wife and called out to Ted: "Hey, boy, how much do you charge?"

Ted, a man with a sense of humor, walked over to the car, leaned into the car while dripping in sweat and said:

"I don't charge anything. The woman who lives here let's me sleep with her."

The man shot out of the subdivision like a cannon. Ted stood and smiled.

I laughed at his ingenuity.

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experience. No one can eliminate prejudices--just recognize them. -Edward R. Murrow


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