Brenda Bernys, American Renaissance, November 21, 2020
This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.
Coming from a small suburb of Cleveland and graduating from a high school that had no non-white students in 1978, I guess I was one of those “people are people”-minded persons. I never thought there were significant differences between races.
The first time I experienced anything that gave me pause was while working a job at a children’s shoe store in a community that had a high number of blacks. I remember black customers walking right past me to go to a black sales associate many times. I remember the tricks that they’d try to use when attempting to return the high end shoes a few days after Easter, Christmas, etc. and taking the tape off the bottom of the shoes that they used to try to keep the soles from getting too scuffed. I saw blacks try to buy items with a credit card that was cut in half and taped together or try to use a check with an ID that didn’t match the name on the check. Parents would let their kids destroy the store and dare someone to say something. They’d argue about the price of something and cause a scene. One time a black woman came in with a little boy in tow. He looked as if she had just yanked him off of a huge dirt pile. Dirt caked on his sweaty feet, no socks, filthy clothes. I had to get him some booties to wear to measure his feet and try some shoes on him. This, even though his mother was dressed to the nines. I’m glad the child was too young to understand shame. His mother had none.
Months later, I got a job at the local bus transportation company. I was happy to have the job and brought, in my opinion, a great work ethic with me. I soon found out that others didn’t have that same ethic once they were off of the union probationary period. After six months, they went from knocking the jobs out, showing up on time, actually being at work while on the clock, being helpful and getting along with others, to sitting and watching others do their work and being totally insubordinate. They didn’t feel bad about it. No conscience at all. I never stopped working the way I always had. They thought I was a fool. They’d try to get me to stop working and get mad when I wouldn’t. I will say that’s when I began growing resentful. I couldn’t stop working the way I always had and they wouldn’t pull their weight. I worked in four different departments within the same company for thirty years and each department was the same. There were always people riding around on the shoulders of others. Always.
A lesson in opportunistic traits and seeing the true color of things appeared while working at one facility in particular. I’m a woman and a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast. The women of this facility were always complimenting me on my bike, asking questions and saying “I’ve always wanted to learn to ride but I’m scared,” or “I don’t know anyone who can teach me.” Well, I helped them out. I gave them lessons, shared so many important tips that take any biker years to learn, helped them with their temporary licenses, let them use one of my bikes to take the riding test with and took my free time to check out bikes they were thinking about buying. I even rented a trailer and hauled one to a woman’s home for her. No problem. I never thought anything of it. Then I saw these little flyers circulating at work and taped on walls. “The women” were forming a motorcycle club. A motorcycle club for women of color.
I was slow to develop a sense of racial identity, but I got there.