Courage And Our Ordinary Fear

It would be hard to say any single person, no matter how powerful could “cause” racism and bigotry to rise in our country. However, the door can be opened for this kind of behavior. It can become more normalized, as they say.


I fear this has happened since our election. Here is my own recent story and response.


He was screaming and I was scared. I stood inside the local post office waiting my turn at the counter a week after the recent election, I began to hear a man shouting just outside. Suddenly I got it. He was yelling at a Hispanic couple who I had seen earlier soliciting money just outside on the sidewalk.


He trotted out all the old standard tropes: “Go home! Fakers! Get out of here! I’m sick of seeing your types! Get a job! We don’t want you here!”


It didn’t take long for the adrenaline to begin coursing through my veins. Not because I was in danger myself, but because I suddenly felt that witnessing this required me to say or do something. And I did not want to do that. This guy seemed a little unhinged and I was quite frankly afraid to confront him.


Soon enough, the shouting stopped. He came inside to check his P.O. Box, now talking to himself and then left. So maybe I made the right decision. Who knows, maybe my stepping in would have made things worse for everyone involved.


I can tell you it did not resolve it for me. Only a few days later during my daily writing session, did something emerge. I found my answer for what I will do the next time… if I can muster the courage to confront my ordinary fear.

Courage And Our Ordinary Fear

by dale biron
“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
–Rosa Parks
Let’s just say for example through some time-machined quirk, you happened all of a sudden, to become Rosa Parks. And just now, boarding the bus, you found yourself eyeing that empty seat up front near the driver. Who was looking pretty bored but still noticed you had stopped, displaying that familiar mix of aggravation and concern on his face. But let’s say that history and fate weren’t leaning on us the way it does for some others. And therefore you only had ordinary amounts of courage, say like most of us have. And let’s say neither you or I would have taken that seat the way Rosa did but rather would have simply sighed and moved on back to where all that ordinary fear kept saying we belonged.
But then let’s just say this was not the end of your time-machined story. And that the whole scene started fresh again. But this time, you were not Rosa, but rather yourself sitting there with that blank stare we so often get while day dreaming. But then let’s say you noticed what was going on just as Rosa took that seat. Although having never been heroic, you did not know what to do. Let’s suppose you were really scared but then stood up as the bus driver was yelling at Rosa for her to move to the back of the bus. Yes, let’s say at that very moment you quietly stood, said nothing and went and sat down beside her. And then trembling inside, you just looked straight ahead, saying to yourself: I will not fight. I will not run away.


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