My neighbor was turning 60, so my family was invited to join in on a surprise party for him. As we walked through the house, we stood out like sore thumb since basically all the friends of my neighbors, who are White and Christian, were also White and Christian. This wasn't surprising. My family also hosts "Asian parties," where obviously everyone attending is Asian. What was more uncomfortable was simply that we didn't know any of our neighbors' friends and didn't really talk to a single person...except one.
I saw a man talking to one of my family members as I was observing the progression of my neighbor's school pictures and thought to myself, "Yay, someone is talking to us." Little did I know this was not a pleasant encounter.
Later, I found out that the person had asked how we knew the man of the hour, to which the person in my family responded that we lived right next door. The man replied, "Oh, I thought you just saw a party and walked in."
I was utterly shocked. I could not believe that we were basically told that we didn't belong, right next door to our house. If we look for the best in him, the man may have thought that his comment was funny and cheeky, but it was not. It was veiled racism. I felt unwelcome, ashamed, ostracized. I regretted that we had went to the party. But my shame quickly turned to indignation. I had nothing to be ashamed of. We belonged there.
We were good neighbors and friends and were therefore invited to celebrate an important milestone in life. We were so kind as to show our care and support in an, honestly, excruciatingly awkward setting and we did not deserve to be questioned whether we were invited, regardless of our race.
My neighbors are good Christian people and I would like to think that their friends are as well. However, to the man who made that comment, I would like to remind you of this verse:
"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
I'm no Bible expert, but Jesus probably meant the neighbors of your friends as well.