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    JOHNTJ1   72,473
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Learning The "R" Word

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Each month, the gym I belong to recognizes a staff member and hangs their picture in the lobby for 30 days. I remember how my kids’ faces light up when they saw mom or dads pictures hanging anywhere, so I think it’s kinda cool that they’ve established this practice. It creates a feeling of accomplishment. Maybe not as much as a large raise would, lol, but still it’s a nice thing to do. Least ways I think so. This month one of the two maintenance employees was recognized. Our gym is large, three floors, of cardio, weight training, and a floor for specialized classes like Zumba and body pump etc. That doesn’t take into consideration an Olympic sized pool and a moderately sized warm water pool, three locker rooms, steam rooms and hot tubs. I’m exhausted just typing the description, and there are only two people to keep all of this stuff running efficiently. In other words, something is always broke. These guys are always busy.

I realize this is a long preamble so I’ll get to my point. The person recognized this month is African American. Yesterday morning I was standing in front of my locker, getting dressed and heard two men in a conversation. The long and short of it was they questioned whether anyone of that gentleman’s race was capable of doing anything more than………. I’ll leave it there. If I said their conversation was disgusting it would be an understatement. I walked around the corner, looked at both of them, and as my son Matt would say “Came unglued.”

A lot of good it did. My massage therapist once told me something I’ll never forget. She told me that “Haters will always hate.” These two guys simply switched their invectives from racial to political, called me all sorts of liberal-pinko-hippie-commie names and told me to mind my own business.

I told them it was my business.

It’s tempting to sink to their level. It would feel good to hurl a few well-chosen thoughts at them and their beliefs. What scared me most is that these two guys have positions of responsibility in our community.

So I’ll take the high road.

We need to focus on what we want and not on what we want to remove. We need to hammer away at racism and sexism with the “R” word – RESPECT. We need to educate people that your politics don’t play a part in respecting other human beings. I don’t care what philosophy you espouse, you can learn the R word. We need to teach our kids and grandkids that basic respect and dignity is non-negotiable.

The old song says “Accentuate the positive.” That doesn’t mean we ignore injustice. I use my ability to write to “spread the word,” so to speak. I have to tell you my legs were shaking a bit when I confronted those two guys yesterday and when I walked away I felt like the whole locker room was looking at me. I’ll leave you with this little story.

As the wagon master said to the passengers when the wagon got stuck in the mud going up a steep hill, “Them’s that’s goin’ on get out and push. Them’s that’s not get out of the way.”

Teach, preach, and learn the “R” word

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
JLOVESDOGS 11/26/2013 10:21AM

    Good job John in what you did. It never ceases to amaze me how far we have come in racial profiling and also at the same time how many steps we have taken back at the same time. It always makes me so mad when someone is telling a story about something that happened and if an African American is part of it that is part of the description of the person when in the story it does not even matter! Why can't one just say a man or woman? I just do not get it at times.

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VARELSE 11/26/2013 9:19AM

    You did the right thing. Good for you!

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/26/2013 5:38AM

    emoticon Respect is the best R-word!

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NUNZIATA43 11/25/2013 5:42PM

    You ROCK! It's hard to believe this type of thinking and speak is still going on at this day and age! I'm with you, brother... !

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2ABBYNORMAL 11/24/2013 11:24PM

    Great blog.
You did the right thing. I would have done the same.
It is still hard to believe all the negativity dwelling in this world.

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NEW_PARADIGM 11/23/2013 8:06PM

    Great blog, and great big kudos for saying something. "We need to focus on what we want and not on what we want to remove" -- love it.

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ANATASHIKI 11/23/2013 11:43AM

    of course it is our business ! you did well emoticon emoticon

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DOODIE59 11/23/2013 7:52AM

    I'm sending you a big hug for saying something, and not letting it slide. Edmund Burke's well-known quote, "All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to stand by and do nothing" is a good thought to live by. Hard to do, but important to keep in mind.
Have a great day:)

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JUMPINJULIE 11/23/2013 2:38AM

    Great blog. always have to stand up for what's right.

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NASFKAB 11/22/2013 4:04AM

  what a great thing to do kudos to you love the way you wrote thank you

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LYNMEINDERS 11/22/2013 2:49AM

    brilliant+ John...totally Brilliant... have NO IDEA how that so fits where I am at present and the things I am trying to change....thankyou so much for the encouragement

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GEORGE815 11/21/2013 8:20PM

    A few people who are ignorant are hopefully not a slight on humanity as a whole. Unfortunately even in workplaces when someone gets a compliment, others are envious.

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CARTOONB 11/21/2013 7:13PM


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CATLADY52 11/21/2013 7:09PM

    Thank you for do what you felt was right. If more people did what was right instead of saying NO to everything, we might actually function. emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 11/21/2013 6:31PM

    Well done, John, for standing up for what is right even when itmade you unpopular. I'm sure your Heavenly Father was proud of you for doing that. emoticon

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BLUEROSE73 11/21/2013 5:24PM

    It's disgusting that such racism still exists. Good for you for standing up for what's right. And for taking the high road.

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JEANNETTE59 11/21/2013 5:07PM

  Some folks learn from the past, some folks are stuck in the past, and some folks want to go back to the past. A lack of respect seems to be epidemic now-a-days. This encounter is all the more disgusting, when you state these two have positions of import in your community.

You are a wordsmith John, so may I suggest a Letter to the Editor of your local paper might be in order. As others have said, I am proud of the action you took. But do be careful, in this day of Stand Your Ground Laws, fools like these might claim that they felt threatened.......

I hope you have the chance to congratulate the gentleman whose photograph elicited such ugliness on the part of these two gym members.

You are blessed to be a blessing John, never change. emoticon

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AJDOVER1 11/21/2013 3:54PM

    Maybe haters will always hate, but I thank you for stepping up and at least making them change their focus for a moment. I refuse to be an audience to hate, which makes me unpopular in some gatherings.

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GOALWTIN7 11/21/2013 1:55PM

  Where do you live, it's sounds like a story from the 1950's. Here in California people are judged by their success not color so I guess it's still being judged. I love knowing and associating with people of all color and backgrounds. That's what makes life interesting, seeing the world from a different perspective.

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GEEMAWEST 11/21/2013 1:53PM

    As usual, you're right on the money! emoticon

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BAMAJAM 11/21/2013 1:47PM

  Ignorance and disrespect will always be sad issues with mankind.
My family is of mixed race. Our president is of mixed race-
The world needs love, respect, education--- and color blindness.
Thank you sincerely, John.

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PEGGY11 11/21/2013 12:01PM

    Your blog reminded me of a conversation heard over our truck cb radio. Some guys were putting down a coloured guy and telling him to go back to Africa. He told them their problem wasn't with him it was with their ancestors. They were the ones who brought his ancestors over from Africa. I thought it was an excellent comeback. Proud of you for standing up for your beliefs because I agree it took courage. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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YOYOGRAN 11/21/2013 11:46AM

    I read your. Blog everyday but have never commented on one before. I was a bit intrigued at the MU crest on your page. (I am an Arsenal supporter!) then I saw that you are a follower of St Francis, me too. I just want to congratulate you on standing up against bigotry and hatred, standing up against racism, and standing up for Christian principles. God bless you, even though you support Man U. emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/21/2013 10:52AM

    How truly horrible. Of course in my opinion this requires follow up, such as doing whatever you can do to remove these two creeps from office. Seriously, the solution starts with you. Don't let the ball drop.

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HDHAWK 11/21/2013 9:56AM

    Wow John. Thanks for being brave enough to confront these 2 men. Hopefully they will give some thought to what you said. How sad that they don't realize their gym wouldn't be the place it is without these men taking care of it. I so appreciate our custodians at school. Kids can be thoughtless about the fact that the messes they make are cleaned up by someone else. They work hard to make our building a pleasant place to be.

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KELLYFIT123 11/21/2013 9:39AM

    I come from a racist home and am familiar with the kind of talk that you overheard and confronted. Even in my family I don't think they would have the audacity to have such a conversation in public. Kudos to you for speaking up.

And on another topic: OMG I wish I could go to your gym! Sounds fabulous!!

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STRONG_SARAH 11/21/2013 9:38AM

    Good for you. It was right to stand up and say something and it took some courage.

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TIGER_LILY_613 11/21/2013 9:14AM

  Thank you for standing up and speaking up. What those two men did was disgusting, and you didn't walk away. That takes moral courage and helps make the world a better place. Thank you.

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REGILIEH 11/21/2013 9:13AM

    emoticon emoticon

Speak up or someone might think you agree with them!

A big pat on the back for standing up to who you are!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/21/2013 9:04AM

    I think you did the right thing; you had to speak up. It may not change anyone's mind, but you had to speak out for what's right. And kudos to you for knowing when to stop.

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