Today, the Prez interrupted the press conference to talk off the cuff, so to speak, on being a black youth in America. I'd give him an A+ for his first-ever, fireside, heart-2-heart chat. It's a shame it took this incident to get him to let down his tightly cropped hear, but it was worth it! I would have to agree that I would not know what it would be like to simply be walking across a street, and see cars of white folks locking their doors. I can't imagine having security follow me through the mall and every store I shopped in. Or, getting in an elevator with an older whiite lady and watching as she tightly clutches her purse in her arms. No I can't imagine those scenarios, and I can only say that it is a shame that this is how non-blacks in America have learned to respond. Let me say this, in rebuttal. While it is a crying shame that non-black America has seen it necessary to move into a protective mode upon seeing "most" blacks approaching them; some of the blame has to be shouldered by the black community for not teaching their children the importance of being upstanding citizens, polite, and working to remove the stigma or stereotype that cause old ladies on elevators to clutch their purse. White folks to lock their car doors. And security guards to follow a group of black teens or young men through a mall. I would venture to say, that a good portion of times non-blacks respond this way is not due to color but the attire of the person, or persons they fear! That is something a black family can install in the minds of their children. Gang attire, and the use of hoodies [by any race of people] sends the wrong message! Let me share something that took me years to out-grow. There was a kid in high school, Marcellus Lee, and his friends, who went around shaking non-black students down for their lunch money. I can't count the time in three years that I was cornered in a restroom, behind wood-shop, or at the side of the library by Lee and his cohorts, and with a knife held at my throat, I gave them my money and went hungry for that day! My run-ins with blacks didn't end at high school. I've been held against a wall, searched and robbed by black guys; I was once beat up for being in the wrong place, by, black guys; in the army it was the blacks that started the most fights, even with those supervising them, like while on KP. Speaking about KP, I was a mess hall cook, and had ten black soldiers sent to me for a week of discipline by their commanding officer. My mess sergeant and I could get them to do very little, due to their continued physical threats against us. My sergeant finally called the MPs and had four of the soldiers arrested, and the other six fell into line, quite quickly. While trying to help an elderly lady on public assistance, get her broken refrigerator replaced under welfare, I was at her home evaluating her, as my position as a unit supervisor was supposed to do, and near the end to our meeting, her son and a friend came home early; they saw a "cracker" in their elderly mom's home, and before she could finish introducing me to her son, he and his friend pulled guns on me, and told me I had ten seconds to get my "white @ss" off the property. I did set a Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not record for getting down a level of stairs and to my car and off that street in less than ten seconds. As a Unit supervisor for a large-group home, I had a healthy mixture of white, black and Hispanic kids. And was physically confronted by members from all three groups. The great thing about the black kids was that, for some reason, a few of the ring-leaders liked me, and at times stuck up for me when other kids were hard to control. In fact, to kids who happened to be brothers, both black, had observed that my car radio was not working, and they offered to "lift one" from a car while home without a weekend pass. Of course, I thank them but encouraged them not to steal for me or anyone else. I still get the sensation of "fight or flight" when I see a group of kids, regardless of their race, approaching me on a dark street. And the reason I get that adrenalin going is not based on color, but on, once again, attire. Gang clothing, and hoodies pulled tightly over the face, is no different to me than living back 150 years ago, and coming upon a group of men with bandannas pulled up to cover their faces. It is my opinion that, while I had a great many negative experiences with black men and women, it is not the color of the skin that causes me to lock my car doors; clutch my wallet in a lonely elevator; or, cross the street to avoid the group of kids approaching me. However, rather, the appearance of those in the group. It is a fact, that human instinct teaches all of us to survive, and part of that natural instinct is based upon what the mind sees and attached to what it is seeing. Past experiences. and a general sense of concern that the brain sends out to the body. I firmly believe white, black or brown. The human mind has a built in sense that is there to protect the life of that person, and that seventh sense does not always react based upon the color of one's skin! I can honestly say that on a dimly lit street, it is hard to gage the color of a person's skin, so I believe that we react more to the size of the group approaching you; the attire of the group; the loudness of the group; and any actions you observe that may signal that it would be best to avoid that group. Young women know this sense quite well, and again; it has nothing to do with skin color, just a sense they get as they draw closer to the individual or group. We, as humans, have an inbuilt radar system that is hard to ignore. And while some folks have built color codes into that system, I believe that today, it is not so much about color, but about personal observations concerning safety! I honestly believe the days of color code, color profiling, and racial stereotypes is slowly ending. However, a person can't be called a racist because something about the behavior, actions or attire of another person or persons, sends them a message that something may be a miss. In my life, I have adopted the motto: Better safe than sorry! And while I have a ton of negative experiences with black guys, those experiences have be all but erased by years of positive experiences to draw from as I have as many black colleagues and friends as I do from any other race! In fact, I have preached in black churches many times, and I'd much rather preach in a black church that any other church, because blacks know how to worship and they show an enthusiastic zeal for expressing their love to God! A fifteen minute message always ends up going an hour or two; and at least three or four new praise songs are written and sung from expressions coming from my message!