My Open Letter to Conservatives
Conservative Black Man

I am white as if you couldn’t tell by the picture. I used to live in PA. in an area with a large amount of KKK activity. As a young person in high school I can still remember the clan coming to the main square in town to recruit people. I never got it, the whole prejudice thing, not to mention my parents talking with their brothers and sisters and being mad as hell about them coming to town.

I now live in Hardy, VA. I deliver mail in Huddleston, VA. There is a church on my route called the Thomas Slave Chapel. There is a service there once every year and this year while they were getting the grounds ready I stopped one day and ask one of the men there if they would mind if I attended. I was told they would be more than happy to have me. This service while it is a wonderful service is mostly a family reunion kind of thing for the English and Burdette families of the area. I ask again on that Sunday morning before I entered the church if they minded me attending. The response again was no not at all. As I sat in the church the only white person in sight. It hit me then. How would one of these people feel if the situation was reversed and why do black people feel such fear? It was quite unexpectedly explained to me when during the service a reference was made to days gone by when the people in attendance would get up in the morning and call their family members to make sure everyone made it safely through the night. As a white person that grew up in a white suburb in the 1960’s and 70’s I was taken aback to say the least. These people were mostly my age and younger. To come to realize that black people lived with that kind of fear in my time on earth was astonishing to say the least. The oppression felt must surely have had a lifelong affect on them. Though I try mightily to understand that feeling I have come to realize that there is no way on God’s green earth that I can possibly understand it and can only have compassion in my heart for all black people.

Rachel Smith