Today was a strange day. I volunteered to canvass with Triangle SURJ, talking with neighbors about the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, the hate shown there, and the subsequent events in Durham – pulling down the Confederate monument, the anti-KKK rally. Talking to people I don’t know is one of my very least favorite things. It’s terrifying in a way that doesn’t make sense.
I only got to have two conversations. One was with a nice guy who agreed with me about most stuff, but hadn’t gotten involved yet in the fight against white supremacy. The second was with a guy about 10 years older than me that was conservative. He was disgusted with “violence on both sides” (his words) and had a lot of stuff to say about Black Lives Matter and the media. It was not always comfortable, but my role today was to listen and connect.
It was interesting to see how two people with similar backgrounds and information can deviate so much. He talked a lot about being Christian and how he thought no problems would be solved unless people turn to Christ. His conservatism was based in that. I told him how being Christian was the reason I was out trying to fight white supremacy, which I think got his attention a little. I felt a little weird saying that because I don’t like to call myself that term, but I wanted to connect and the term is technically correct.
Anyway, I spent at least a half hour talking to a guy with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in his backyard about race and it didn’t go that bad.