Smile, as the saying goes, and the world smiles with you.
Write a newspaper column about racial sensitivity and understanding and they spit in your face.
Or at least the denizens of some of society’s darkest corners express the desire to do so in cowardly anonymous phone messages.
They also rain a torrent of names like “traitor,” “scum” and “vermin” upon you for daring to mention that you are the white parent of black children. A couple of N words were tossed in as well.
In their way of “thinking,” white is white and black is black and never the twain shall meet.
That odious reaction to my column that ran two weeks ago only serves to prove the point I tried to make about how far our country has to go in shaking off the vile taint of racism.
Another sad and pathetic example cropped up shortly after that column was written. It involved the little American boy of Mexican descent who sang the National Anthem before one of the NBA finals games.
That, too, sparked a litany of bigotry and hate speak that was breathtaking in its viciousness.
And unlike Roseanne Barr’s infamous mangling of the Star Spangled Banner it had nothing to do with the quality of his rendition. It was all about his ethnicity and apparently the fancy traditional costume he wore while singing it.
This may sound strange for me to say, but I need to thank all of you foul-mouthed bigots for reminding me that you are out there and that good people everywhere need to keep working to combat your atavistic behavior.
Now please crawl back under your 19th century rocks and let the rest of us forge ahead into the 21st century.
(Warning: clever segue ahead)
Speaking of forging ahead, (OK, maybe not so clever) I’d like to address another topic I consider important.
My manhood, or as some including my own daughter have pointed out, my lack thereof.
All because I was wearing a T-shirt adorned with the word “Princess.” It is part of the name of an organization that I was involved in.
“He, he, you’re a princess,” the 11-year-old daughter mocked me.
No, no I’m not. But I am proud to wear the shirt. You can’t question the manhood of anyone who can be part of a group of nearly 100 dads and daughters on a two-day camping and canoeing trip in the Ozarks.
That takes a lot of guts in my book.
Though a well-stocked cooler of beer doesn’t hurt.
To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.