Today I packed up the laptop and went to Riverside Coffee in downtown Smithfield. There is not a coffee shop in Selma, much less one with internet access. So I went there, had some chicken salad, coffee, and pastry for lunch and wrote. I reworked the forum on i9570.com, wrote another column for LaPlante's Rants that will be in The Selma News, checked email, and got on some message boards I frequent. While sitting in the coffee shop, which was doing a brisk business, a couple sat at the table next to mine along with a British businessman from Raleigh. They were lamenting the lack of dining establishments in Selma.
They said that Sweetwater's is now out of business. RJ and Karen shut down the restaurant this week and put a letter in the window saying that Karen is having health issues and they need to devote their time to working with her health. I am sorry to hear about Karen's health issues. Karen and RJ will be in our prayers. I am also sorry to see that the only good restaurant in Selma is not closed. We were semi-regulars there. Here is The Selma News' article on the subject.
I stopped by a small barber shop on South Raiford Street and got a haircut. Clevon is a young entrepreneur who opened Kuttin' Korners in the old post office building. I went there after seeing him get up and speak at the citizen's open forum at the last town council meeting. I figured that I needed to find a local barber instead of either cutting my own hair or driving to Clayton to see a close friend of ours who owns a shop. I can't always make it to Clayton just for a haircut. I love my friend dearly, but it is a bit much at times to squeeze in the time.
Besides all of that, I wanted to take the time to meet new people. Clevon is a seemingly bright young man who I wanted to give a chance. I walked into his shop and told him that if he can do a good job at cutting "white boy" hair, I would be glad to let him have at it. He caters primarily to the Black population here in town, being in a primarily Black area. I personally don't care about his skin color or that of his regular clients. All I care about is getting a good haircut at a good price. He offered both. His price was only $10. He did a great job, too. He was also enjoyable to converse with. It was well worth my time to visit and I think I have found a new tonsorial artist. Click here if you don't know what that means.
I really shouldn't say that is all I care about, since it is not completely true. He is a human being with feelings and the need to make a living just like anyone else. I do care about such things as that, too. As long as he is professional (or even more casual, for that matter) and not disagreeable, sloppy, or anything that I would find objectionable, I am all for supporting his business. I purposely decided to try his shop just because he is a young Black entrepreneur who offers a service for which I have a need. It had a lot to do with being friendly and developing relationships. I am open to that with most anyone. I recommend people try his shop. I am glad I did so today.
I don't understand the "good ol' boy" mentality that a lot of people have. There are plenty of people who will never visit Clevon's shop just because he is a Black man. I have not tried the barber across the street and railroad tracks yet, although that shop is White owned. I have absolutely nothing against them, don't know them, and hope that they do a great business. I have never heard anything bad about that shop, either. For that matter, I have not heard anything good. I asked some folks I know for recommendations for a good barber in the area and some go out of town. I figured that if I could meet Clevon, make a new friend, and foster good relations with a big old White boy like me, than all the better for us.
On the flip side, perhaps a lot of Black folks won't use the other barber shop because it is White owned. To be honest, many older White guys don't do well at cutting nappy hair. That is why I said to Clevon that if he could cut by sheep wool like "White boy" hair and do a good job, then I will be back. I wanted to give him a chance, and he did not disappoint.
Racism is not a matter of skin...it is a matter of sin. I for one don't mind crossing many such barriers. I try to be fair with all, judge people by the content of their character, and give chances to others. I don't just preach that attitude, I am determined to put it in regular practice and do so.
On the other hand, I don't tread lightly on subjects that are racist in nature, regardless of from whom the originate. For evidence of this, just read more in this blog.