I hurt someone’s feelings Thursday night at Sister Night. I apologized, sincerely, but it wasn’t enough to repair the harm I’d done. I’d take it back if I could, but of course I can’t.
About three-quarters through the show, a Sister came to me and said a lady up front wanted to speak to those in attendance about Kwanzaa. I introduced the next number, then flitted off to find the lady. At the front of the bar there were three African Americans, a woman and two men. I looked at the woman and asked, “Are you the Kwanzaa lady?”
She looked at me, aghast, and asked, “Am I the what?”
I immediately tried to explain, apologize, but the three of them left. I don’t know if they were on their way out or if they’d just gotten there. I followed. She kept walking. The two men stayed for a conversation of sorts.
I tried to explain further. One of the men was more open to whatever I was saying, the other man—it wouldn’t have mattered what I said. During the time we were on the sidewalk, the woman drove by, rolled down her window, and slowed down enough to yell through it, “It’s okay.”
What I did was wrong. Please don’t reply with comments that attempt to justify my actions; I will delete them.
I’ve replayed this situation a dozen times in my head and the only thing I could have done differently was to have ask from the stage, “Would the person who wants to talk about Kwanzaa come on up?”
We live in a time (and should have always lived in a time) when our words matter a great deal. Racial, religious, sexual orientation, you name it, tensions are high. In the space of a moment we can hurt or heal with words. We can tear down or we can build up. We can cause people to feel bad or to feel good.
My prayer is that I will choose more wisely next time, and for grace when I fail.