This I Believe

Kenneth - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on January 10, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: place
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I moved to North Carolina a little more than 20 years ago. Fuquay-Varina was the birthplace of my father and where he grew up. When I first moved here I lived in Raleigh. The first Sunday after I moved here I experienced an event that has set the tone for my life in North Carolina and my perception of the attitude and people of North Carolina. I was passing a very large church on Glenwood Avenue. It was probably right about the time the services were finished and people were leaving. As I crossed the traffic light just previous to the church, a man with his wife and children approached the exit of the church near the road. He appeared as if he was going to pull out in front of me. As there would not have been enough room for him to safely do so, I tapped my horn and flashed my lights as a warning, and as such this man came to an abrupt stop causing the car to jerk violently. And as I passed in front of his car, that was still technically in the parking lot of the church, the very church in which he and his family just finished worshiping in, this man flipped to me the gesture universally known as one that is not very flattering and one that a person would certainly not expect to see from someone just leaving the church! This to me was extremely profound as it was never something I was led to believe about North Carolina and about the way North Carolinians felt about religion. For this man to make such a gesture at me in the presence of his wife and children while leaving church was unspeakable, especially when you consider that had I not warned him from pulling out in front of me, at that speed he, his wife and children, would have all but certainly been severely injured or killed! Since that time, I have experienced scores of such instances that are not flattering or even reasonable in comparison to the way I was treated in other places that have been to in my life. North Carolina is not a fair state and neither are its people. They only believe that they are because that is what they have been told to believe. It is what they have been trained to believe. I have experienced things in North Carolina that I have never experienced anywhere else and very few have been acts of kindness or fairness. Yet it is hard to explain to people here that just because things are done a certain way does not make these ways right, correct, or even just. This is what I believe!