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Going to a Texas college in the 60s I was exposed to a lot of racism. Blacks sat in the balcony of the local movie theater whites down below.

Blacks weren’t served at the snack bar until all whites had been taken care of.

Same at the local Drive In. There was a barrier between whites and blacks. Blacks in the back and whites in the front.

Four restrooms at gas stations and two drinking fountains. That was true racism.

Racism In The 21st Century

When I woke up this morning there was a black president, there were blacks and Hispanics in Congress. Blacks and Hispanics in the Supreme Court.

Black and Hispanic governors and mayors.

As the old cigarette commercial used to say, “You’ve come a long way baby.”

But have we really come a long way?

Is This Seat Taken?

A reasonably attractive women seated on a train. A black man asks if the seat next to her is available? She says no she’s saving it for someone. So he finds another seat.

A few minutes later a white man she doesn’t know shows up and she allows him the seat. Is this an example of racism or something else?

As it turns out the black man in question is former NBA basketball player Etan Thomas who happens to be 6’10”, a published poet, freelance writer for the Huffington Post, and motivational speaker.

He donated $30,000 to the Haiti Relief Fund. In 2012, Thomas co-authored the autobiography Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge, which he discusses his fatherless childhood and the importance of fatherhood.

Not your average Michael Brown or Freddie Gray with a long rap sheet.

It’s a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner scenario. He’s so great that if you don’t like him the only possible reason you could have is race.

The Rest of the Story

Is it OK to act on your own emotions? I have no idea what was in the mind of this woman on this train. But neither does anyone other than her.

Maybe his size was an issue, maybe she thought she’d be hit on the whole ride, maybe she just doesn’t like 6’10” black poets.

What if it were a 6’10” biker type covered in tattoos and chains? Would that be reverse racism if she told him to move on?

And what about him? There were other seats available close enough that he could witness this exchange and confront her after give up the seat to the white guy.

Why did he pick that seat? Did he think he might get lucky? Or maybe he thought she’d love to hear some of his poetry.

Would he have picked that seat if the woman weighed 250 pounds with acne? Perhaps he’s a weight-aphobic.

So now this woman is all over his Facebook page. Over the weekend the tabloids blacked out her face but not when the original story broke.

And we are only hearing the Thomas side of the story in most reports.

In fact the only reason it's a story at all is him bringing it to social media complete with the woman's picture to put her in her place and teach her a lesson.

Some Final Thoughts

The final thought here is that we all immediately jump to race even though we were not there and know nothing about the thought process of either party.

We don’t know what was in the mind of the woman but she’s immediately the villain in the story because of the two skin colors.

That’s all the information we need. We can now justifiably jump on her with both feet.

Sometimes it seems we are headed back to the 60s at breakneck speed because of political correctness.

If this woman wasn’t racist before she probably has a good reason to be so now after this experience.

And did Thomas do anything for his race other than reinforce the Black Lives Matter crowd that looks to divide us all? Did this confrontation better race relations in any way?

I wish we could all just get along. But we can’t. And we don’t always have to justify to others why we can’t.

We’ve all had bad vibes about some people we’ve met. Sometimes justified sometimes not. Should we ignore those vibes?

Does your race give you the right to dominate others or to always be the injured party? Seems like that card is also played a little too much.

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