It shocked me to my depths! I was having lunch in an Indianapolis restaurant with my pastor and an old friend who was a famous local black pastor and his black friend, a chaplain at the Indianapolis jail. At that lunch I was called a racist to my face for the first time although I had been very outspoken about giving any special treatment to anyone for any reason under any circumstances. I thought it was racist to do so and was not a kindness to them. I still believe that. My black friend had not indicated any disagreement with my position on race or any issue.
I had a very public record of fair treatment for everyone without cutting any additional slack for Blacks. I determined to treat everyone the same so I was against any affirmative action and had debated a black columnist and an Indiana University professor on the subject at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI). I won the debate!
I angered some black leaders and liberal politicians when I cast the lone vote against a “memorialization” of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Indiana House of Representatives. I was the only “no” vote in the House and the senate. Same the following year! An AP reporter asked me why I voted “no” since the vote had no value and was only symbolic. I told her that I did not have time to go into detail, but it was a matter of principle. King was an admitted adulterer and had defended the Communist Viet Cong while Americans were dying in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia. My vote had nothing to do with race or civil rights. That House vote was long before leftists and other non-thinkers rammed a MLK national holiday through congress and clubbed Ronald Reagan into signing it into law in 1983.
In addition to being a member of the House of Representatives, I was also administrator of the Indianapolis Baptist Academy. And of course, we had some black students who had to meet the same standards as the white students. They easily did.
As school administrator I often had my new friend, the famous black preacher, speak at the school and even invited him and his wife to travel with us to Israel and the Middle East–free. I had taken groups to the Middle East for many years and when I organized the school we decided to take the senior class with us for their senior trip! No school, public or private had ever done that. I gave my “earned” tours to the class members and to the black pastor and his wife. He lectured us each night at our hotel after a long day of touring.
Over the years, he and I became friends although he persisted in calling me “Dr. Boys” even though I often chided him for doing so. We had a very normal, friendly, brotherly relationship with never a hint of any problem even though I had a very public reputation as a conservative.
From all indications he was also conservative. In one of our times together he told me of his conversation, maybe confrontation, with black leaders at a national meeting of the NAACP in St. Louis. He told one of the leaders, “Why is the group called the National Association of Colored People? Why not try to advance all people and since I am a part of all, it will advance me?” Those were not his exact words but similar and true to the facts. Well, that impressed me and I wished I had asked that question. So, I assumed we were in agreement on racial issues. I never felt a need to “walk softly” when we were together. He was simply a friend who happened to be black.
Then I spoke at a meeting of clergymen in an eastside suburb and my black friend spoke in the afternoon to the totally white congregation. I might add that he was treated with kindness and affection by the group that represented Indiana Baptist preachers. During his very eloquent (as always) message, he did something that many preachers do: he started chasing rabbits. He shocked us by saying, “You are very pleased to call me brother but fearful and hesitant to call me ‘brother-in-law’ or ‘son-in-law.’” That was the first time my friend had run off the racial rails to my knowledge.
At our lunch meeting a few months later, I asked, “Brother, do you think it is possible for me to believe that forced school bussing is stupid and unfair to Blacks and Whites and affirmative action is unfair and detrimental to Blacks and Whites, and that Martin Luther King was an admitted serial adulterer and did not believe the truths that all Christians believe, and then do you think that believing all that makes me a racist?” He hung his head and said, “Yes, Dr. Boys, I think that makes you a racist!” I was surprised, shocked, and speechless!
My friend is in Heaven now and no longer believes what he said. I am still alive and believe the same thing I believed in that restaurant in 1978. Time changes; circumstances change; people change; but facts remain: all people should be treated like people. No special rights because of race, religion, or gender.
If that makes me a racist in the eyes of some, I can live with it. But all sane, sensible, and smart people can identify the true racists who see everything through racist eyes.