Walking a Mile in the Black Man Shoes

"Colored Only" sign on entrance to bar in BirminghamThey say that we have a black president. But what difference does this make if blacks continue to be the targets of police hatred, violence, and racial profiling, for example? And what difference does it make if blacks can’t find jobs and justice? Yes, we see blacks climbing the corporate ladder, becoming executives and the like. But to point to a few successful blacks is hardly indicative of the true experience of the black man in America.

And even when blacks find jobs, they are hardly given a fair share like the rest of their coworkers. Rather, they continue to be slighted and oppressed. They are often viewed as incompetent and consequently must be constantly be supervised and micromanaged. This is what it means to walk in the black man shoes.

As a nation, while we have made progress in relation to racial issues, we are still dragging our feet in many respects. Predominantly black schools continue to suffer, and even close across this great nation of ours, largely because of neglect and structural racism. The message that is often sent is that we really don’t care too much about you. We are used to you being a statistic–anyway.

Recently I viewed a PBS production of A Conversation with Henry Louis Gates, Jr, the noted Harvard black scholar. In the conversation, this noted black scholar said that the last bastion of racism and racial prejudice to fall will be academic.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with a white brother in the Lord, while still in California. This brother, who is a physician, told me of how many white patients would refuse to visit a fellow physician, yes, because he is black. This is just one example of many such–mind you.

After more than 200 years of dehumanizing and inhumane practice of slavery of a people because of the color of their skin, as a nation, while we have come a long way, we still have a long to go. This is evident from the continued cry for jobs and justice from the black community.

And having a few black friends, neighbors, coworkers, doesn’t mean that you understand the black experience and what it really means to be black. You must first walk that proverbial mile in the black man shoes.

This entry was posted in Black History Month, Racism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Walking a Mile in the Black Man Shoes

  1. Jon Hughes says:


    I don’t sense that this is such an issue in the U.K. – at least not in London where I live, which is about as multi-ethnic as it gets! On a happy note, our second child, Naomi, was born on 2nd July. She was delivered at our local hospital via C-section by two fantastic doctors in whom we had the utmost confidence, both of them black.

    God bless, brother.

  2. TC says:

    Jon, I remain hopeful. Thanks for sharing, bro.

  3. Lon says:

    Any suggestions for how an average white guy can be a part of a solution? I don’t believe I’m part of the problem, but I’d like to be able to say more than that.

  4. Duane says:

    TC, my oldest daughter, 21, has been in serious relationship with a young man who grew up a single parent home in the inner city. The color of his skin was not an issue but whether he would be a good husband. Having this young man frequently in my home and counseling them on really brought to light the challenges he has faced. Not just externally but internally as he attempts to rise out of a fatherless home, poverty, aberrant religion, and a host of issues. My daughter has decided not to marry this young man, but through the process he has come a long way.

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