Recently, I made an unlikely friend in Traverse City: Rod Nyland, former employee of Hampels Guns.
For anyone who knows me, and the message Im dedicated to sharing, Rod is just about the last person in this town I might be friendly with. Rod is credited with hanging the American flag inverted in front of Hampels the day after Barack Obama was elected, and for making a
racial slur against our next president.
I cant remember how old I was when I instinctively knew it was wrong to make racial jokes or derogatory remarks about people with skin color darker than mine, but I couldnt have been more than six or seven. My father, my fathers father and both brothers were adept at slinging Ku Klux Klan wisecracks and angry taunts laced with the N word, while my mother, relegated to the barefoot in the kitchen rule, remained silent.
I, however, despised my familys behavior and made a vow to myself: Someday, when Im all grown up, Im breaking the cycle of racism with my own children. Obviously, I wouldnt have chosen those exact words as a little girl, but I did keep my promise.