Sometimes We Have To Say NO

The Old Man With The Purple Skin And Yellow Eyes

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Submitted by Thomas Antkow

Word learning and basic values begin with babies. Incessantly being tutored by parents, siblings, neighbors, relatives and sometimes even strangers they soon parrot common expressions. Created as tiny sponges these itty-bitty humans begin to absorb and connect the dots leading to actual concepts and words like mama, dada, bye-bye, me, and mine.

Babies eventually will learn to put body parts, ears, nose, eyes, fingers and toes in their proper place. We hope.

The word NO is repeated so many times that it becomes ingrained in their psyche or should, about the primary difference between what is right and what is wrong.
Unfortunately, some adults feel that NO is a dirty word and destructive.

Permissiveness will soon rear its ugly head. It’s just a matter of time.

As vocabulary grows youngsters soon discover basic thoughts involving curiosity and exploration. Days of innocence gradually dissolve.

Concepts like suspicion and possessiveness begin to emerge. Rebellion looms large on the horizon.

Depending on the environment budding adolescents will eventually be exposed to and will embrace social constructs involving segregation and racism.
There is a song I remember from my childhood that occasionally comes to mind whenever racism concerns arise.

The verses were written by Richard Rogers of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame and put to music in the classic movie South Pacific in 1958. The verses in their entirety go like this:

“ You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear, You’ve got to be taught from year to year, It’s got to be drummed In your dear little ear You’ve got to be carefully taught”.

“You’ve got to be taught to be afraid Of people whose eyes are oddly made, And people whose skin is a different shade, You’ve got to be carefully taught”.

“You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You’ve got to be carefully taught”!

Recalling the lyrics from a song penned and performed almost seventy years ago has opened my eyes to the chaos that surrounds America today.

The bedrock of our freedom established by our Forefathers is not only disintegrating but the ideas behind and the interpretation of the Constitution itself are being abused and bastardized.

Freedom of speech has led to unfettered expression of thought and actions without restraint or consequences. That includes wearing masks and hoodies to disguise identity and destroying private property and displaying terrorist symbols and ideology just because you can, under the guise of the first amendment.

The concept of “Black lives” obviously matters. However, exactly when are what matters enough?

I offer what is happening in the WNBA as an example. Purposely eliminating our borders and then lying about why is abysmal. Purposely pretending it is not happening is shameful. Allowing our history to be destroyed and replacing it with falsities, untruths and anarchy is unacceptable.

Thank the Good Lord that wisdom, reality, truth, and common sense can still exist. Grace, faith and the Holy Spirit can sometimes be disguised as an aging Black man in a white boys’ world. Lessons that last a lifetime come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

When I was somewhere between childhood and adolescence I encountered truth, patriotism, wisdom and reality in one man.

I frequently encountered an elderly black man sitting on a bus bench while walking to the general store in my hometown. He told me when I asked to be called Mr. Davis.

What struck me was the fact that the whites of his eyes were yellow, his black skin had a slight purple hue. His black hair was sprinkled with gray.

He was always neatly dressed and sported a World War II service medal on the flap of his checkered red and black shirt pocket. He smelled of Old Spice. Just like my father.

His stories were legendary. He was a veteran of two World wars. His patriotism was unquestionable. His race was invisible to me. His truths were undeniable. His love for America was unimpeachable. His dedication to the concepts of freedom and the Constitution were rock solid.

I listened to his words with fascination. I had to be taught. Mr. Davis was my teacher. His heart and yellow eyes will forever be in my heart.
May God Bless you Mr. Davis. May God Bless the hope he had for America. Sometimes someone just has to say NO.

THOMAS ANTKOW is currently a freelance writer and produced and hosted his own daily radio show on KCSF AM 1300 and co-hosted talk shows for KVOR AM 740 for Cumulus Broadcasting in Colorado Springs.  He can be reached at  You can subscribe to Tom’s FREE newsletter at:

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