The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

August 20, 2013

Don’t judge a book, or a person, by its cover

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 — The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is coming up this month. It is hard to believe that 50 years have gone by, we have a black president and we still have equality issues in this country.

Equality has been something many have strived for throughout history, yet in 2013 many still can’t find it or their actions are frowned upon if they don’t act “normal.”

I’m not normal. I never have been and I never will be. I like being different and standing out in a crowd, even though I may not always come across as that.

I have spoken many times about my faults, my handicaps, the things that make me “not normal” in the eyes of others.

We had a couple newsmakers in the last week or so that could fall into the category of searching for equality and the aftermath of it.

Everyone knows that I like to watch wrestling. Again, sometimes that makes me normal, depending on the crowd, and other times I am seen as not normal. Anyway, when approached by newshounds TMZ, WWE wrestler Darren Young came out as gay. It has long been observed that there may be a few gay wrestlers, but this is the first time one has come out and it not be a part of his in-ring persona.

He will surely find some people who are turned off by this announcement, but he said he is happy with his life. As long as it makes him happy and it is not physically harming others, who are we to judge?

In other equality news, Oprah’s recent shopping trip has opened up a debate over race again, but this debate is not just about race. This topic could apply to anyone, regardless of color of skin.

Oprah wanted to see a handbag in a store in Switzerland. The clerk told her that she didn’t want to see that bag, that it was too expensive, that she should check out something else.

The bag ended up being $38,000, and Oprah has since said the clerk did her a favor and that she would not have bought the bag anyway at that price.

Yet, because of her appearance, whether it be because she is black or because she didn’t have the “Oprah look” that day, she was not allowed to see this item.

It’s not like she was going to walk out without paying. If a store has a $38,000 handbag, I am sure that there are security guards all around her, or anyone for that matter, in that situation.

Sometimes I feel like I do not get proper attention when I go into a store. This could be for a multitude of reasons.

I am short. I have bad eyesight. I have a beard. I walk slowly. I walk with a cane sometimes. I am a Southerner. I work at the SNAP. I like Duke. I like to wear hats, not necessarily ball caps. I look as if I could not afford to purchase anything. I do not have washboard abs.

I hate myself on that last one.

I remember the time my family was looking to purchase a new car. We decided to shop around both in county and surrounding counties.  The car at the time we were driving was nothing to brag about.

With no paint and rust spots in places and 15 years old, we drove this car into the parking lot of a nearby dealership. We did not at first get approached by any salesman, however, after spending much time walking around in the parking lot, we were approached by a nice gentleman wearing a suit and tie. He insinuated our car should have been parked in the back of the building. Therefore, he received no commission that day.  

Did we purchase a car?

Of course, from a dealership that evidently wanted our money no matter how we appeared.  

The point is looks can be and are deceiving.

Even though I do not watch the show — and do not hate me for this — the guys from “Duck Dynasty” do not look like they could afford anything either, yet they are raking in the ducks … I mean bucks.

I’m already Southern and I do have a beard. Southerners, as all citizens, should respect each other on actions, not appearances.

B. J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Write him at PO Box 488, Albemarle, NC 28002 or email bj@stanlynews press.com

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