Payson Is No Place For Prejudice

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Some months ago, I was told by a friend that a black person had asked if she would be welcome in this lady's Payson church.

I was surprised and saddened by this, not feeling any person should feel unwelcome to attend a church of their choice. I guess I was naive as last Saturday I learned more about some persons' attitudes regarding differences, and I was angered and ashamed.

My husband and I were visited by some of our family. We were happy for the visit, not having had them here for some months. One of the visitors was a new son-in-law we had not met prior to this visit. He happens to be a black man. He went to an auto parts store while here to get a part for his car. While in the store, he noted a group of three or four men talking together. Then he heard their words. One of them said, loud enough to be heard, "There are so many blacks in town this weekend that one of them will be dragging behind a truck before dark."

He returned to our home, told his wife and expressed fear to stay in Payson overnight. She then told us what had happened.

Can you imagine how embarrassed and ashamed I was? (This is a) town where people are supposed to be living in harmony and safety. Of course, I apologized to him for anyone being so cruel and hateful here. But they did leave before evening. Payson didn't seem like the town we had described to them a place of caring, friendly and hospitable people.

I wonder if others are aware of those kinds of people living in Payson and have overlooked those kinds of remarks. This remark wasn't funny when it was a news item some months back. It should have made us all feel shame.

It expresses hate, and hate has no place in any of us. No one chooses their skin color and it is nothing to use to cause hurt to someone.

I won't name the store, but I will never enter it for any purchase. If it had happened in my place of business, I would have handled it right then by calling for an end to it and requesting an apology from the hater. If one was refused, I would have ordered him out of my business.

My only hope is that as folks are made aware of this type of action in our little town, they call for an end to it and express disapproval of that attitude.

I also hope this man is not teaching his kids this same hate.

Jan McQueen, Payson

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