DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Of all the life lessons learned in his 74 years, Glen Rice of Dallas admits ‘racism’ has always been an elective.
As a white man, he was not conditioned to wonder why he was skipped in line. Race did not color his world. But now, he is being intentional in looking at the world through a wider lens.
“It’s sad, that we’re still here,” says the retired teacher.
Several years ago, Rice was invited to learn more about how black men live in America.
It all started when the pastor of his Park Cities Baptist Church, Jeff Warren, swapped pulpits with Concord’s Pastor Bryan Carter in Oak Cliff. Then, men of both churches began meeting together outside of Sunday morning—giving real meaning to racial reconciliation.
“Around the table with the two churches getting together, I heard stories that impacted me,” says Rice. “It was very powerful. It made it so much more personal.”
As the men talked and shared, Rice says he was especially moved hearing how black men avoid interactions with police.
“The guy when he had to go to the store, he put his construction hard hat on, because that way, a patrol car wouldn’t move over and say ‘what are you doing?’ recalls Rice. “These guys are middle class, educated, just like me… and yet they have to think about those things, they have to experience those things.”
Rice says he brought his 10 and 11-year-old grandsons along for the gatherings, because he wants them to learn from the exposure as well—and he wants them to learn in time to shape their world for the better.
“I hadn’t realized how hard their life is, how different it is,” says 10-year-old Glen.
And when asked how sitting in on the men’s group will change him as he grows up, 11-year-old David said, “My experiences with them, it will change how I think towards other people and show respect for other people.”
As for their grandfather, Glen believes strongly that his Christian faith demands that he do more than talk about loving his brother, he must walk the walk: and that means stepping outside of his comfort zone.
“It’s bringing healing, but yeah, we got a long ways to go,” says Rice.