A Little Lesson In Class: Exactly What America Needs


[Beneath the Spin]

This young lady’s arm was in a sling, and the gentleman – a perfect stranger – saw that she was having difficulty cutting up her food.

So he put his life on hold just long enough to, literally, step up to the plate. That guy should be found and recognized – not just for his benefit, but for the benefit of America – because he represents what most of us want America to be.

I love this picture, because it speaks volumes about people relating on a human level.  It shows how easy it is to make one another happy, and what the world would be like without ignorance. It should also put a little something on some of our young men’s minds about class, knowing how to treat a lady, and manhood.

This guy shouldn’t go unrewarded, because his simple act of kindness is exactly what’s missing in our society. This simple gesture represents a Master’s class in what America is suppose to be about – not the hatred, selfishness, or the division that’s seems to be increasingly engulfing our society, but kindness, and sense of caring, and the recognition that the struggle through life is a group effort.

When he sat down at the table he didn’t ask her who she voted for, her political affiliation, or her position on any political issue. He simply dealt with her as one human being to another, and I’m going to save this picture to my mental database, to remain a constant reminder of that fact.

Someone should find this guy and give him a Soul Train Award or something. Because this is what awards should be about. So I hope everybody will post this picture all over the internet to let him, his employer, and his family know how much we appreciate his acting like an American, and taking the time to make the world just a little bit better, for just one young lady. These are the things we should reward as a society. Look at the look on that young lady’s face. It says it all.

And who knows, maybe if we gave this gentleman enough recognition for his simple kindness, it just might catch on. The mass publication of stupidity sure has caught on, because people tend to repeat the behaviors that are rewarded, and the reward of mass public approval is one of the most powerful motivators that society has to offer. In psychology they call it a conditioned response. With just a little effort we could make it “cool” to be sensitive and caring, and before we know it, we could have young men competing to be seen helping an elderly lady cross the street, instead shooting at each other to prove their manhood.

And it’s not like it’s something that hasn’t been done before. For several years in Los Angeles during the sixties the Black community virtually safe from urban predators and the gangs all but disappeared, because it was a time when being “enlightened,” and “down for the community” was rewarded as what it meant to be cool.  Young men were literally “borrowing” their nieces and nephews so the women could see them interacting with young people, and taking the kids to the barbershop to get their afros groomed. In short it became “cool” to be responsible.

During that time entertainers and athletes had to demonstrate that they were responsive to the needs of the community to get the community’s support. It wasn’t just Muhammad Ali’s skill as a fighter that made him an icon in the Black community, it was the community’s sense that he was fighting for them. It was a time when even James Brown and Sammy Davis Jr. had to cut off their processed hair and grow naturals, because it didn’t matter how famous you were, you had to be responsive to the community to get the community’s support.

It was a great time to be alive in the Black community, because everybody seemed to be pulling together. During that period I didn’t even need a car. I could get all the way across town in just a matter of minutes. I’d go to the bus stop and before long, someone would roll down their window and ask, “Where you going, brother?” Then when I told him, he’d say, “Hop in,” and he’d take me as far as he going in that direction, or sometimes, even go out of his way to drop me off at my destination. He knew he didn’t have to worry about being jacked, because we didn’t do that to one another. And then, when I’d offer to pay him, he’d say something like, “Don’t worry about, my man. Just pass it along.” That was Black life in Los Angeles during the sixties.

So if we really want to create a better society, and clearly demonstrate that those who worship selfishness and greed are out of touch with reality, moments like the one depicted in the photograph above should be seize upon and rewarded. Personally, I’m for making this guy a poster child for what we mean by American ideals. thereafter, all we’ll have to do is display the poster during mass rallies and demonstrations to remind Americans of who we profess to be.

In the recent past we’ve been wasting our time carrying posters angrily condemning the behavior we’re fighting in an attempt to ANGER the people into action. But the people have become immune to angry protests, so all that does is strengthen the resolve of the people we’re fighting. As a result, that doesn’t worked. So now we should try carrying posters of ordinary Americans who we’ve made it a point to honor for their ordinary, but honorable deeds, in order to INSPIRE the people into action.  We know that will work, because it already has.


For more articles by columnist Eric L. Wattree see wattree.blogspot.com

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