What Color is Your Angel?

Coming back to my hometown led me into a vortex of racial tension,  as an unfortunate series of neighborhood events nearly turned into a media-inspired incitement to riot.  The local daily’s online accounting of what transpired led to such hateful, vitriolic comments it’s downright frightening.  The people who I stand in line next to, drive behind, or visit at the bank or supermarket and who serve me with a smile might in fact be the very same people who, under the cover of Internet anonymity in the Comments section, want Jews dead, the sooner the better.

On Friday I was standing in line at my local Dollar Store, where it so happened I was the only white person in the store.  I was buying decorative cookie tins so I could send home-baked cookies to all those in Maine who had provided me with quality service and kindness in the past year:  various subcontractors, our woodcutter, the postmistress, the town clerk.  Next to me in line stood two ladies, talking loudly enough to ensure I’d hear their conversation.

“I really am going to complain to the manager,” one said to the other.  “All the gift bags have white faces on them,” saying the word “white” as though she were sucking on a lemon.  “There ain’t no reason he can’t get gift bags with black faces!”

“Yeah,” the other woman huffed, “and now I have to go to the other Family Dollar store up the street, because they don’t have any black angels for the top of my tree!”

But I had to admit: I, a white person, wouldn’t necessarily buy gift bags with black faces on them.  Then again, I wouldn’t buy gift bags with white faces, either.  Personally I gravitate towards gift bags in solid metallic colors.

I left the store, deep in thought about black angels.

Will they watch over me?




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