This Week's Story

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We never forget the feeling of being rejected.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

What do we see?

Skin color is often a challenge in the United States. Where people. come from, can also ignite hatred. Some find it flung into their faces, as I did one day.

A man was watching me, as I stepped to the door of the Smart and Final grocery store. His eyes were hard, and his face twisted with anger as he accused me, “You’re German!”

“Yes, I have some German in me.”

I wondered: What is in my face that makes him look at me with hate?

Years earlier I was a little girl in a car with my grandfather on a highway near Flint, Michigan. Traffic was heavy. People were sweating. A car with its windows down, passed us. People inside it, were talking loudly.

My grandfather shouted some nasty word out the window. “Grandpa, what does that word mean?”

“It means people from down South got a job up here and they don’t know how to behave.”

I had never heard the word before, and I never wanted it shouted at me!

My senior students have helped me to understand words that rip respect. One day as several of us were working and talking after school, I happened to have all black students with me. I asked, “When you are walking home from school, do adults or teenagers yell nasty words at you because you are black?” The one girl with us said, “No.”

Senior guys told me, “Sure, about every day.”

One boy said quietly, “Every day.”

I was startled. “What words are said to you?”

Softly he repeated some crude expletives.

I thought about the words and my senior. How was he judged? He was a human being, an excellent athlete, thoughtful, intelligent, good-looking, and well-liked. Could it be that he was name-called just because he was black?

When I was about six, Grandma Nonnie told me a true story. It became permanent ink in my mind. A boy in Nonnie’s school came to school every day with torn pants. Students teased him. One day Nonnie joined the meanness and called him “Old Torn Pants.”

She told me how later she felt terrible! I listened and with all my heart I hoped that I would not hurt anyone like Old Torn Pants for what he could not change.

In third grade I became the new girl in a tiny town surrounded by farms. In June I picked strawberries five or six days a week. Not bad work when the sun shone and there was money to earn.

The first day at lunch eight bullies followed me in a single line. They said nothing to me. In desperation I walked to the farmer’s home and called my family. Of course, I was not going to tell Papa and Mama what was happening. My tormentors could only guess what I said and hopefully stop harassing me. They did. I have not forgotten my terror.

There is a powerful Bible verse in I Samuel 16:7 that speaks straight about prejudice.. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This is Barbara Steiner inviting you to stories from www.thisweeksstory.com.

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