‘Do not judge’

September 04, 2009 12:50 pm

My friends and I have stayed in Union on several occasions and have undeniably had quite enjoyable experiences. The historic Union Hotel is one of my personal favorites with its theme rooms, whispers of the possibilities of ghostly encounters, fabulous cuisine and the delightful gentleman owners. The other business owners and residents of the community have always been pleasant and cordial.

So recently, when attending the motorcycle rally in Joseph, the choice of accommodations was clear. To stay in Union. That apparently was a mistake, as two of my dear friends had an unfortunate and quite honestly archaic reception at one of the Union eateries.

These two gentle giants decided to go down the street from the hotel for dinner. Apparently, it was a “seat yourself” establishment. So they did. They waited quite some time for service and received none. When they approached the counter to order beverages and ask for a menu, they were informed, “we don’t serve your kind here!”

Now, I am wondering, just what “your kind” is? Is it two of the nicest men you will have the opportunity to meet? Men who would never pass a stranded motorist without offering assistance? Men who still open door for ladies, men who have families, children and are highly respected in their chosen professions as well as their communities? Men who work hard, pay their taxes, support our troop and believe in God and country?

Would these men have been served had they motored into town on a crotch rocket, Honda or in a BMW or pickup truck? Would they have been served had they donned Dockers and loafers instead of jeans, boots and black leather chaps? Perhaps they should have been sporting crew cuts and mullets instead of a ponytail and incredible Santa-white hair. Or maybe cowboy hats and ball caps versus do-rags and helmets would have garnered service at this establishment.

Be assured, we are not gun-toting, drug-dealing, trouble-making bikers. We don’t ride into town, terrorize the locals, start fights or steal. We don’t break windows, trash hotel rooms, corrupt your children or kick the dog.

Let me tell you who “your kind” is. We are devoted spouses, parents, grandparents and children. We are loyal friends. We are mechanics, business owners, chemical engineers, veterans, teachers, secretaries, nurses and farmers. We come from every profession that may come to mind. We are faithful, we are volunteers, we support our favorite charities, MDA and the American Cancer Society to name a few. We are Harley owners and riders. Who choose to ride our motorcycles as our form of therapy, relaxation and comraderie.

We choose destinations that we hope to be interesting, with local history and flair. Where we can spend time with our friends and family. Eat a good meal, stay in a comfortable room and perhaps do our part to stimulate the economy in the communities in which we choose to spend our hard-earned money.

It is difficult to believe that in 2009, with a black man in the White House, our society has regressed back to “your kind” and “you people.” This is not a racial bias, nor is it likely to be racial profiling for the sake of national security in Union as these two gentleman happen to be Caucasian. This is simply and unfortunately an immediate mistrust and fear based upon appearances and preconceived stereotypes.

“Do not judge lest you be judged yourselves. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2.

So the business owners and residents of Union can be at ease again. “Your kind” (at least our small group of “your kind”) and perhaps other “kinds” who read this letter won’t be visiting your community in the future.

Tammy Martin lives in Irrigon.