Politics aside, I admire Ms Angalou as an accomplished woman, poet and writer. Black women can look to her as an example of what life should,could, must be. I am not a black women and and will never be able to attest to the experiences endured by them. But as an Italian~American woman; I can understand stereotyping and misconceptions of one's nationality and culture.
This quote, by Ms Angelou, I believe expresses that point perfectly.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
My farther was in the military and he traveled constantly. It was just my Dad and me for a long time so as much as possible I traveled with him. We were traveling through Macon, Georgia when I was about 8 years old. Dad had gotten us some lunch and we had a picnic in a park there. Sitting next to us was an elderly black woman, She made a point of fussing over me; especially when she found out that my Mom was no longer with us.
I learned two things that sunny afternoon. First, everyone is the same and this woman in particular was wonderful. Second, prejudice is an ignorant and harmful disease. She told us that in the not so distant past; she was not allowed to use this park because she was black. She also told us that she sits on that particular bench because there use to be a sign there that said,,
'DOGS AND NIGGERS KEEP OFF THE GRASS'
I did not understand what that meant at the time she told us. I was raised in an all Italian neighborhood in NYC. As we drove away from Macon, my Dad tried to explain it to me. It made me feel terrible once I understood and I had never seen that sign. I could not even imagine how she must have felt all those years looking at it.
I sat on that bench years later as an adult. A tear in my eye and a smile on my face because I had the opportunity to remember a wonderful experience, with a saint of a woman, in a beautiful place. To this day, I wish I could remember her name. But in my Heart of Hearts I know that she, in that way to short period of time, taught me a lessons that I carry with me every day.
I fully understand Ms Angelou's quote. God bless her and every woman that graces our lives.