Race is always a delicate issue

As said in the headline, race is always a delicate issue here, any where, everywhere.

I was talking recently with some colleagues about my misadventures as a young boy, maybe 12 or 13. I had left home and was living on the streets. Although they were the streets of Brentwood, Pacific Palisades. Much nicer than Sixth Street and San Pedro, a place I was going to end up, but much later.

I had ended up – as this young, lost boy with all the advantages that come with money, power and fame – in the basement of a well-known brain surgeon.

I was raiding the refrigerator one early morning, must have been one or two in the morning, when this famous brain surgeon staggered into the kitchen. He was taken aback and was I. He asked, “who the hell are you?” Or words to that effect. I responded that I was a friend of his son’s and was temporally sleeping in the basement. He didn’t seem to mind and went about his business, as did I before slinking off to the basement.

Now here’s the point of the story: take me, this exact story, and change my color to black or brown and think what would’ve happened during that encounter? Arrested. Jailed. No questions asked. Immediate incarceration and jail sentence for whatever charge the authorities would have thought up. Absolutely. No question about it. Slam dunk.

By the way, that’s exactly what my two friends, one black, one gay, said to me when I was recounting this story of misadventure. I was lucky to be privileged and white. I was. I am.

Life has never come easy for me. It’s been tough, And I was given all the advantages. Money, power, fame, opportunity, and I was white.

So, you take my character or lack therein and paint my skin a different color. Jeez! I probably wouldn’t have made it.

Race is indeed a delicate matter. We are slightly better than we used to be but we still have a long way to go. A long way to go. Talk soon.

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About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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