Patrick Hampton / April 29, 2019

Victory Over Victimhood

My hope for blacks in America is to unlearn their inherited victimhood mentality.

One day, I drove my sons to the gas station to buy snacks. As we entered, we parted ways. I went to one side of the store and my sons went their way in search of snacks.

As they made their selections, I looked back to check on the boys, then my eyes went to the cashier. She was also watching them. Then the employee told another employee to keep an eye on my sons to make sure they weren’t stealing. I watched carefully to see what would happen.

The second employee walked over to the boys to do as she was told, but did so covertly, acting as if she was restocking coffee cups. With snacks in hand, my sons made their way to the checkout counter to meet me. I paid for everything and we left.

Sitting in the car before pulling off, I asked the kids if they knew they were being watched.

“No,” they said.

“Did you see that lady following y'all?” I asked.

They only thought the employee was stocking cups.

“I watched the other cashier tell her to watch y'all,” I said.

“We don’t steal so we don’t have to worry about her,” said another son.

“But why would she do that to y'all?” I replied. “Is it because y'all are black?”

My second oldest piped up, saying that perhaps some boys before them stole and put them in that position to be watched.

“She was doing her job!” they all replied.

As a father, I was relieved. My sons had not adopted the narrative of victimhood like so many young people today. It was mature of them to put things in the proper perspective. The gas-station associate was doing what was right for the store.

In today’s world, scenarios like this one can take a downward turn. I’ve known black people to storm out of a store and lash out because they thought an employee was following too closely. This is often because some black parents teach their kids to be overly concerned about being perceived as a shoplifter. Black kids inherit this chip on their shoulder, staying on guard whenever a white employee comes nearby to simply ask, “Can I help you find anything?”

Sadly, victimhood teaches us that so long as we have our race card, we are above the interests of a shopkeeper protecting her store, or a police officer doing a necessary traffic stop.

My hope for blacks in America is to unlearn this victimhood mentality so that they will know peace in our society. But until then, I’m proud that my boys — the next generation — have passed the race-card-victim test. Mission accomplished.

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