I’m sure it’s hard to believe, but when I was young, black and essentially homeless on the streets of Chicago, both parents dead and family members who refused to help me, with a kid on the way and working shit job to shit job, I felt everyone in the world was against me. That made me vulnerable.
Then folks who were older and seemed like they were more stable come along with ideas and explanations: Why do you have so little, and the Jews have so much? See that Arab over there with the corner store? Why are his prices so high? You know your friend is a fag, right? Brother, the reason why you’re kept down is because the white man is the devil. Anonanonanon.
When you’re drowning, you’ll grab anything floating by to try and stay afloat.
Then it was the gay guy at work who took me aside and told me that, if I don’t marry my girlfriend, I’d shame her and doom my black daughter, and then some guy would come along and doom her, just like I ruined her mother. It was the Jewish boss who came to my first comedy show and gave me 6 months to quit and go hard at entertainment, else he’d fire me. I learned the value of principles of Islam and therefore turned away from drugs and drinking and carrying on in the street. And then white folks gave me respect for my intelligence, and though I hadn’t gone to college, hired me for my smarts, paid me well, and helped me pull myself out of poverty. Showed up to my place on holidays. Sent home gifts for my children. Supported me beyond the workplace.
If any of you were around me and my homies who suffered from similar circumstances back when we were all lost and afraid, and listened to us talk shit during underaged drinking, you’d think we were all a bunch of racists who would tear the country apart if we got power. We were all just miserable, man. Miserable, afraid, and had no one to talk to. No one but folks just as lost as we were.
I got lucky. God revealed Herself through the good will of people who were totally unlike me and helped raise me up. If any of those kind people knew the confused thoughts I had when I was a snot-nosed teenager, they would have unfriended me, too. Perhaps we should reach out instead. Before we run off to fight Trump, perhaps we should make sure we’re behaving better than he did.