Forgive me for making another comment about understanding and racism but I think it important. It requires that I tell a little story.

My wife was raised by her grandmother who lived through the Japanese occupation of Thailand in WW2. She hated the Japanese from the depths of her soul and taught my wife that no young Thai woman or girl escaped rape. My wife had no personal experience with Japanese people, only what was imprinted in her young mind.

My job required extensive international travel, especially in Asia. I built many friendships. Two of the men I had worked with several times and had established friendships with came to the US for training. I invited them to my house for dinner. My wife is an exceptionally good cook.

When they arrived they had brought flowers and a bottle of wine. My wife remarked, out of their earshot, “The Japanese never come with an empty hand.” Uh-oh, that was grandma talking. I had not tasted the food yet. It was wonderful but it could have melted steel. They raved on about the wonderful meal but knowing what Japanese food is like I know it scorched them. Years later she finally confessed that it was purposeful.

My next trip to JAL I went to the coffee shop in the morning and one of the guys who was not at that dinner saw me and said, “Daveson. You’re wife’s cooking is very famous at Japan Airlines.” Uh-oh. All the guys who knew me showed up that morning to welcome me. They knew they couldn’t burn me up with wasabi but they gave me something new that I didn’t know how to eat. Nato. I ended up looking like I lost a fight with Spider Man. We all had a good laugh. I love those guys, I really do.

Was what she did racist? Well, yes it was. Does understanding where it came from temper my judgement? Yes, it does, at least for me. The world would be a better place if we spent time understanding along with our judgement.

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Retired and living my golden years in a world full of angry people.

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