Last week, I had a very disturbing incident at work. As many of you know, I work in corrections. A man was moved into my housing unit after making racist comments in two other units. He came to the desk telling me he needed to be moved because he couldn't be around African Americans. He had another name he used for them and started calling them rapists and other names.
A picture of my son flashed through my mind and a lecture began. Everytime the man interjected with something else racist, I just kept talking. I told him that I would never segregate the unit and that no one in the jail would. I went on to tell him that he did not ever have the right to judge someone by the color of their skin and that his comments were very racist. He demanded to speak to a supervisor and I gave him a grievance form to file. He then stated he was calling his attorney. I told him I would welcome a call from his attorney so that I could tell him that I would not listen to the racist garbage being spewed from this inmate.
The next day I noticed this inmate socializing with African American inmates. Oen of those inmates came out to state that the inmate was not nearly as bad as he had been the previous day. The inmate came out a short time later and stated he thought about what I had said. He stated he realized he was wrong and that he didn't want to be that angry person anymore.
I don't know if the changes in this person are permanent or not but I do know that at least for now I made a difference. I just wish I could affect more people and help more people realize that anger and hatred is not the answer.