I’m Ashamed 144

Deep in my bones, beyond what you imagine, I’m ashamed to tell you this.

My parents raised me better than my actions show.

My Dad grew up during the Great Depression in the steamy hot weather of Meridian, Mississippi. It was a time with a suffocating racial climate that couldn’t have been much easier to avoid than the humidity.

If I were my Dad, I might have an excuse, because we often take on the attitudes and often misplaced beliefs of the people around us.

But, I wasn’t raised in a climate of racial fear or hate and what I did was not what my father would have been likely to do.

My Dad left Mississippi when he was still a young man and during my formative years I was living in rural Colorado, where most people I hung around with looked the same, believed the same and had about the same economic future.  I just assumed we were all in this together.

There were exceptions.

The Ute Indians lived in a nearby reservation and oil finds had given their tribe unexpected wealth after decades of poverty. There were migrant workers who passed through during harvest seasons, but for the most part, to me people were people.

Mom and Dad raised me in a wonderful giving and loving environment where everyone at least treated as an equal even if we at times felt more or less fortunate than the people around us.

I walked into the barber shop I’ve been going to for many years.

Newtown, Pennsylvania is not Colorado, but it’s certainly not Mississippi in the 1960’s.

I remember Mississippi in the sixties, because my family took a trip back to see family and the picture of Mississippi in that hot summer was burned into my brain.

It was the first time I’d ever seen separate drinking fountains and separate bathrooms for Whites and “Negros.”  As a teenager, I was more than a bit shocked by the reality of a world in which all men were not created equal, much less women.

I remember feeling like I was in a backward foreign country, not the United States of America.

The heat and humidity was the same though.  It was already climbing into the 90s and I was feeling that pressure cooker feeling of steamy, muggy hot.

Newtown, PA has its own history of racial problems and my friend and early mentor Ed Johnson – whose company invented the 401K plan – had been a part of it.

When local business leaders were trying to exclude blacks, Ed was a vocal minority.  There were scary things going on and Ed was threatened more than once, but it didn’t stop his efforts to help support the two small black churches in town and even today Ed continues his efforts with a passion that’s unstoppable.

But life in my neighborhood isn’t anything like the Newtown in the 60s. All races mingle and associate with each other and while I occasionally hear a racist remark, it’s certainly not the norm.  Families are likely to have a wide ethnic background, mixed race marriages are common and society is polite here even when they think less than polite thoughts.

Or so you would think.

I’ve been going to the same barber for ages, but on this hot and muggy day, my usual barber was off celebrating the marriage of her daughter, so I sat down the barber chair of one of the other barbers.

I love learning about people, so it was natural to ask the barber a few questions.

I found out quite a bit.

He’d been working at the barber shop for about four years, was 69 years old and had learned to cut hair in Italy from an uncle.

He started by sweeping out his uncle’s barber shop at the age of 5 and learned the old fashioned way, by watching and then by doing the best he could to imitate what he saw.

At the age of 18 he’d immigrated to the United States and it was clear that he’d laid solid claim to this land of freedom. Now, he was hoping to retire in a year or so.

Despite the fact that he’d been cutting hair for almost 60 years, I was a bit nervous about my new haircut.

His scissors were moving fast as he talked and my haircut was obviously going to be shorter than I anticipated, because the hair on half of my head was considerably shorter than the other half.

The television was blasting away in the background, with the morning news.

Our president spoke a few words and it became clear that my barber was not a fan.

You’ve probably noticed the passion with which people judge our politicians of any flavor.

Personally, I’m just glad I don’t have their job.

If you are a politician, no matter what you do, someone will be putting you down for it.

So when it comes to people who are criticizing politicians, I tend to hold my comments.

I’ve been fascinated by presidential politics and politicians since I was a teenager and the truth is, you would be amazed at which ones I’ve found to be worthwhile — from all political persuasions.

But I’m usually more eager to hear others opinions on politics than to express my own.

I rarely take anything as absolute truth, which can cause problems when it comes to political discussions.

Other than an occasional “hmmm” I shut up.

And then the tone of the monologue grew more judgmental.  It moved beyond the realm of presidential politics and extended to broad categories of people, political ideas and finally into complete classes and races of people.

The language could have been straight out of a barber shop in the 1960s in Mississippi and the barber made a vigorous defense of his right to call people by names which all decent people would judge to be racial slurs.

I cringed in my seat and glanced in the mirror at the barber behind us, whose ethnic background was indiscernible to me, but who probably wouldn’t have been in the majority in rural Colorado in the 60s.

I have no excuse for what happened next …

My family gave me plenty of examples about how I should act in situations like this.

My memory fades on the details, but stories have been burned into my brain and I know what a relative of mine did in a similar situation when it took a heck of a lot of courage to say anything.

My uncle was the pastor of a church in Mississippi, sitting in a barber chair when the men were discussing excluding blacks from the church and his response was something like, “over my dead body.”  Luckily, he didn’t die for his remarks, but he did lose his job.

I know how members of Jane Mark’s family traveled to the south and paid a horrible price for trying to stand up for people during the civil rights movement.

I know what good people should do when they are confronted with wrong, because I’ve been raised to know …

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I’m ashamed to tell you now, I did nothing.

Please don’t tell me that it doesn’t matter.

It does.

Not only to me, to the barber, to the man standing behind me, but to everyone they touch.

That’s the power of our impact.

What we do makes a difference, whether we want it to or not.

Every person listening to that conversation cringed and said nothing.

And I had an opportunity — never to be repeated — to stand for something good.

God help me stand for something good today.

All the best,

Ken McArthur


About Ken McArthur

Ken challenges us to realize we ALL have an impact – whether we want to or not – on thousands of people who we touch in our day-to-day lives by demonstrating that simple things make a HUGE difference. The popular host of a series of live events that bring together top-level marketers, entrepreneurs, business owners, corporations and non-profit organizations to create multi-million dollar joint venture relationships – he creates incredible, intense impact for product launches and multi-million dollar profits in surprisingly short timeframes. Regularly asked to speak at leading marketing events, he has managed product launches ranked in the top 400 sites on the Internet. Ken McArthur is also the creator of AffiliateShowcase.com, a pioneering affiliate program search engine and directory system and the founder of the MBS Internet Research Center, which conducted the world’s largest survey ever attempted on the subject of creating and launching successful information products. Not satisfied to concentrate entirely on large organizations, Ken also works with select individuals to help them create a decent living utilizing the power of the Internet. Ken was the official mentor for Sterling Valentine as he took his launch from ZERO to over $100,000 in less than 8 days. Ken and Sterling documented the process as a “proof of concept” for Info Product Blueprint a massive home study course that is the “bible” of info product creation. Ken offers top-level coaching and mentoring programs designed to help individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations reach masses of people using the techniques, tactics strategies and systems that he has developed specifically to help people spread their ideas, products and services around the globe.

Leave a comment

144 thoughts on “I’m Ashamed

  • Shannon_Herod

    Great post Ken, and a testament to your character. You should have said something, that I agree with, but you did not have to make this post. I think making this post shows the true character you have.


    • Marcia

      I agree that the racially charged atmosphere of that barbershop was not the right time to take a stand.

      However, I am reminded of a lecture a number of years ago in my German history class in College. The professor tried to help us understand the atmosphere in which Adolph Hitler assumed total control.

      At first, people listened but didn't say anything, he explained. They were uncomfortable, but let it go. Over time, it became dangerous to say anything. The SSI's eyes were everywhere. Even children were spying on their parents. And we know how that story ended.

      It is important to pick our battles, but it is good to find a way to speak out, such as this blog, where you air the issues people are sometimes afraid to talk about. So Ken, I applaud you for having the guts to talk about this.

      • KenMcArthur


        I debated quite a bit over whether to post this and finally decided something had to be said. If we never say anything then we will lose everything.

  • Larry White

    Hey Ken–maybe it's a good time to remember that “for everything there is a season”–Sometimes the best we can do is to reflect and take inventory when we miss the opportunity to take a stand for what we know is “right”, and commit to trying a different response in now or in the future.

  • Jon

    It takes courage to stand up for what you believe, Ken. I'm guessing that there are times when we've all kept quiet when we should have spoken up.
    Does it matter?
    Well the world moves on and people forget. Except..
    Except “you” know.
    At the end of the day it comes down to whether you can live with proclaiming one set values whilst in practice following a different set of values.
    Maybe you should have spoken up, and maybe you shouldn't. I don't judge that – it's your call.
    What I can see is that it's bothered you and you've taken action to put something right. Can we ask more?
    Sure. If you'd spoken up at the time maybe the elderly barber would have had a change of heart, but then maybe not. Maybe the other barber would have been strengthened by your stand, maybe not.
    What I do now is that by posting your 'confession' so publicly it offers a lesson to thousands of people who all have the chance to stop, to listen to their own conscience, to think, and then to integrate the lesson into their own life.
    Maybe some will repeat your actions, they too will maybe have the chance to reflect.
    If they do, then maybe, their story will be appreciated by and affect thousands of people too.

  • Mel

    I agree wholeheartedly with every thing you said; however, on the other hand…
    I get equally discouraged with those who think anyone is a 'racist' (!) if they disagree with President OBama's ideas of 'change' that he's trying to implement!
    History bears out the how unwise and damaging his “progressive ideas” were in every situation where they've been 'tried'. Why can't we learn from history and experience? I didn't vote for him because of his pledge to fundamentally change America, but, I did pray after he was elected, that America would embrace him…and maybe, just maybe…we could make a giant stride towards wiping out racial prejidous.

    Unfortunately, his radical policies have (and are)
    polarizing our people in ways more dangerous than ever before. Any more from the 'New Black Panthers” and their ilk and many of us will be stockpiling ammunition.

    • KenMcArthur

      Disagreeing with someone's viewpoint doesn't make you racist. Judging someone based solely on race does.

      Of course, I'm not really big on judging people in the first place. I realize that we all do it and even that it's necessary in many cases, but I know how I look under a microscope and I'm sure I wouldn't like all of my faults exposed.

      That makes it hard for me to judge people who are failing. I fail most every day at something so who am I to judge too harshly.

  • Donna Rougeau

    Your powerful vulnerability in this piece asserts the value in your person, I am so proud that you are my friend and that your voice is speaking now!

  • Rani

    what an awesome message to us “good” people who really should know better and show how to have a strong back. afterall we are the models of the future generation…………. not sure where that came from! but thanks for this inspiration.

  • June Campbell

    Oh my goodness, what a dilemma you were facing. I understand your disappointment in yourself for not speaking up, but on the other hand, could you have walked out with half a haircut? I don't think I would have spoken up either, and I would have felt just as badly afterward. A few months ago, I was attending a workshop where another participant made what could be called a racial slur about a particular ethnic group. It was a relatively mild slur, but still, a slur. I said nothing and to do this day I feel ashamed of myself for my silence. Thanks for telling the your story. I think its one many of us need to hear.

  • Hutchinsonvic

    I can definitely relate Ken. You should see how much hatemail I got when I started asking my list of 10,000 to help me feed kids over in Cambodia…

    Click on my name and watch the video if you want. I know this is the right thing to do no matter how much hate emails I get…

  • Beckssmtm

    Ken, you are a very nice man! Not the kind to cause conflict or cause an altercation by any means. However, you work through much more powerful means, like through your writings here and the books that you have written. You touch many people and make a bigger difference than most. Had you said something to the barber, the lives you affected would have stopped right there and not been felt by people like me and all the others reading this post.
    Be proud of the way you handle it – it's more powerful than you give yourself credit for!!!

    • KenMcArthur

      When I was growing up, being a “nice guy” was always a “no chance with the ladies kind of situation” but thanks for the encouragement!

  • Carleen Pruess

    Unfortunately, this is one of those incidents that many of us have faced in the past and also failed at. Thank you for reminding us that, as uncomfortable as it may be, speaking up is important. I will definitely be sharing this article.

  • Jeanette Joy

    Dear Ken,
    Give yourself a break from guilt. You were listening to someone so bitter; anything you would have said would not have been received. This poor man has missed love for 69 years. It will take more than a brief retort for him to understand brotherhood. Save your energy for making a huge Impact by sharing your goodness where people listen.
    Love you,

    • Alexandra1_atl

      Well said Jeanette, and I believe that what we learn and how we feel in our hearts matters the most. Change starts within. I do not believe anyone felt too proud that day!
      You will have another chance to speak up Ken and next time you will not let it pass. I find the most difficult thing is the shock and unexpectedness of that kind of small minded and cruel behavior from other adults. There have been times when I was so stunned at the inappropriate behavior that I literally did not know what to do until I left the scene and my sense returned and then I was outraged and like you, somewhat humiliated at my own ineffectiveness.

      You are a good man Ken. That is what I know. You love people. I know you have made a decision here about the importance of standing up for what you b elieve and that is what free speech is all about. In the land of free speech people are free to make even ignorant, ugly comments but we are also free to verbally let them know exactly what we think about what they think. Let us use that gift wisely. It came at a high price so let us not only defend the right but use it well and make it count for something.

      Thanks for sharing Jeanette and Ken,
      Alexandra Barrett

  • Bob Yeager

    Hey Ken

    Really, doing anything during that situation would've just fueled his passion to spread hatred. Doing what you did by writing this post, allows for a message to be spread to the right people for the right reasons.

    (But next time… stop guy A from cutting your hair and ask guy B to continue 🙂


    Bob Yeager

  • Deremiah *CPE


    Heeey Ken…this is Deremiah *CPE your Black friend who loves you when you stand and who loves you when you cringe and say nothing.

    I just want you to know that being that I understand the ROOTS of my heritage it really doesn't matter when people desire to categorize me because of Race because they do not know the truth of my Heritage.

    They don't know that African Americans have a rich triad of a heritage. We are Native Indian, European and African…to what degree we all bear different mixes of those three Roots.

    When people try to categorize there is something in me that wants to stand up on the inside for the Black Choctaw Indian in my bloodline and then there is a part of me that wants to stand up on the inside of me for the Irish in my bloodline and then there's the African side of me that want's to stand up on the inside of me.

    So Ken…don't worry my friend…you have not failed us because you failed to stand up when you had an opportunity to rise to our defence because I saw you STANDING UP on the INSIDE.

    Sometimes our greatest STANDS happen when we are NON-Violent and we avoid Confrontation.

    “There is a TIME and a SEASON for all things”…it was just a time for “PEACE to BE STILL”

    I love you man…And I'M NOT ASHAMED of YOU. I have not come to condemn you but to LOVE YOU. KEEP SMILING…I love you.

    Lovingly loving you Deremiah *CPE

    What can I do to SERVE YOU Ken?

    • Alexandra1_atl

      The love and deep understanding of human nature vs Truth brought tears to my eyes as I read your post. As always, you are eloquent in your expression of love, compassion, and uplifting generosity. You are an ambassador, my friend.


  • Walt Laurel

    Hey Ken…Walt Laurel here…I too have been in situations where I chose not to speak. Just as you, the feelings deep in my gut where my true soul lies burned with self condemnation….that's what is so key about what you wrote…

    You're true character was measured by the uncomfortable “feeling” while it was happening and probably right now. The courage you're showing in this post is a testament to YOU, the awesome, loving, and caring Brother we have come to know and LOVE!

    Now, it's time for you to forgive yourself and keep doing the Monumental Gifts you are giving to the world…

    I love ya man!


  • Ruthe

    Dear Ken,
    Because you are the kind, loving, caring person you are…you did not remind this unfortunate, sad and sorrowful person of his somehow learned ideas…
    He was the one in the wrong and you kept still. Even if you had said anything you would not have made him change. You knew that, so thanks for the reminder to all of us…Your Friends…we all love you and know what you stand for! Never change because you have an Impact beyond your belief!

  • Howard Tiano

    Hey Ken,

    You've made more of a difference by having the courage to post this article here than by trying to change the mind of a person who has been a bigot for 69 years.

    I think we can all relate to similar incidents at some point in our lives where we didn't speak up when we “should” have, but in the great scheme of things, I believe it builds up the pressure to come out stronger the next time a similar opportunity presents itself. Like your post.

    This “confession” shows your true colors, and I am proud to call you my friend.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristi Sayles

    I have two scriptures for you, my friend…
    “Cast not your pearls before the swine…” and “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.”
    God knows you have a pure heart-and that's what matters.
    Perhaps it was time to be silent- I mean the guy DID have hold of your hair! 😉
    PS I'm honored to have you
    as a guest on my talk show
    Aug 2!

  • Jim Donovan

    That's a powerful story that reminds us that, as far as we think we've come, we have a ling way to go to learn to live together as one. Be thankful you know better than the poor barber who, I'm sure, for 69 years has harbored hatred of all types of people who do not look like him.

    Personally, I celebrate diversity. If we were all the same, looked the same and felt the same, life would be pretty boring.

    As far as your doing something, as the post below points out, you have. Those of us who do what we do are making a difference. The work has been going on for generations and it will go on for generations more but it makes a difference.

  • Allison Sheffield

    Hello Ken,

    A belated and heartfelt Happy Birthday to you!

    As long as we are aware of our actions or lack of, we aren't sleepwalking through life. It obviously has bothered you enough to post about the situation, which in my humble opinion is a great start to rectifying the issue…whether it be now or the next time it presents itself to you. Don't beat yourself up over this, just decide to handle it in your preferred manner in the future.

    As I see it, our primary job in life, easy or not, is to love people, everyone. Imagine if everyone did…

    All the best,

  • Alan

    There's a reason for everything, Ken. You're beating yourself up for not taking a stand and saying something in that situation when, chances are good, there was a perfectly sound reason why you didn't…and simply don't know it.

    Perhaps that barber simply wouldn't hear you. Perhaps it would have no effect and, thus, you weren't prompted to speak up because it would only solidify his own erroneous beliefs.

    When you believe in a Greater Plan that is totally beyond our control, as I do (the only thing we CAN control is how we react to each situation), it's easy to see that you were MEANT to say nothing so you would write this marvelous post and educate potentially thousands rather than one barber or a small room of folks at that barbershop…who might not have been primed to hear your message at that time.

  • Jim Zak

    Hey Ken, thanks so much for having the courage to tell us about your shame in this awesome article you wrote from your heart.

    Perhaps God had a plan for you to touch more people by being silent and sharing your shame with the world than by you speaking out to only one. There is a great lesson here that we can all learn from and take to heart.

    I truly appreciate your honesty and courage to share from your heart with all of us.

    I appreciate you Ken,

    ~Jim Zak~

  • Shel

    It's not too late. Go back and find him. Tell him, in a respectful, not angry way, “Ever since you cut my hair, I've been thinking about some of the things you said and how much I disagree with them. I've been beating myself up for not challenging your racism when you expressed it. So today, I'm going to stop beating myself up and tell you that I didn't appreciate your put downs of those who look different from you, and I'll not have you cut my hair again.” Then stand still and listen for dialogue. It may be quite vitriolic, but you may be able to go deeper. And you owe him that much.

    You do this, not for his soul, but for yours. But there may be a side benefit of reaching his, too (maybe not right away).

    Thanks for being brave enough to share this post. I look forward to the follow-up post about what happened when you went back. And how lucky you are that you have the opportunity to “undo the not doing.” I can remember a couple of incidents in my teens where I failed to interrupt racism or sexism on the street and never knew the identities, never had the chance to back and make it right. 40 years later, I still feel guilty.

      • shelhorowitz

        Igualmente on the friendship. I don't recall knowing about you before we first met in person at one of the pre-Book Expo conferences several years ago, but I remember you were very warm to me, then and every other time we've crossed paths.

        Which book did your brother send? I've written eight.

    • Askme

      Shel: Yes, indeed. I was also going to say that one way I've dealt with this in the past was just to directly ask if we could change the subject, or discuss it a bit later, get thru the vulnerable part of the situation and then speak my truth. In other words, I might have said “does my hair look even to you?” to shift the energy back to the haircut, and keep speaking on that until the subject changed. Then, after the haircut, having had time to reflect on the conversation and get clear on best way to response from my truth, I could speak up before leaving the shop.

  • Rosanna E. Tufts

    This is the reason why Norman Lear created the “All in the Family” TV series. The only thing that stops this attitude is satire. You may not be able to change a bigot's mind, so the only alternative, other than saying nothing, is to embarrass him in front of other people. May I suggest bursting into a song recorded by the Kingston Trio (although I forget the name of it)?

    “Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch,
    And I don't like anybody very much!”

  • Alejandro

    So Ken,

    What should you do next? Should you stand here and tell us how you did nothing or should you go back to the barber shop and express your feeling in person.

    We all come across people who cross the line and when we choose to be bystanders then we fail to live up to our true potential.

    The fact is, someone in your capacity, with your knowledge and experience . . . did nothing. The question is WHY? What stopped you from voicing your opinion or asking the person to stop. If others around you looked as shocked as you felt, then you need to ask yourself what fear came over you.

    It's a hard choice to make, but either we live our talk or we just walk life wishing we said something. The price may be high or surprisingly very rewarding.

    Over the years I have stood up for what I believe and racial discrimination is unacceptable, bullying is unacceptable, and intolerance is unacceptable.

    Many of believe that, yet many, will bend the rules and allow it when it comes to getting up and saying something and sticking to it.

    Ken, walk into the barber shop look the barber in the eye and tell him, that it was absolutely unacceptable how he spoke.

    Years ago my wife and I rented a flat in a city that is one of the most ethnically blended cities in North America. The landlord was of Lebanese and we were packing to move to a new home. The place was for rent and my best man was coming to help us pack some boxes.

    Minutes before he arrived she indicated that she did not want to rent the place to “those people” referring to black people and immigrants. I was complete insulted by her comments and my response to her as my best man was approaching the house, “have you looked in the mirror lately” I said. She said “why”, I explained politely, you are one of “those people” you are an immigrant living in this country, you judging people based on race and ethnic background, and yet you believe you are different and better.

    And as my best man approached my landlord said to me, please tell him its already rented. Something that is completely illegal. And as he stepped on the landing we gave each other a big friendly hug. Now, I wish I had a camera, the expression on my landlord's face was priceless.

    I told this was my best man and then excused myself.

    Later that week a wonderful couple came to visit the place, they said they had three children, all in school that day. They eventually rented the place.

    Just as we were moving our last items we met the new tenants, their three children were absolutely wonderful.

    I always believe that what goes around comes around . . .

    the husband and wife were from Norway and their three children were adopted from Haiti.

    I guess my landlord did not see that coming.

    Ken, we need to stand up speak out and not just be bystanders. too many innocent people get hurt everyday as a result of bystanders. Its not always easy but we have to stand up and step outside our comfort zone . . .


  • Jason Anderson

    Allow me to quote “Alan” from below or above (can't tell where this comment will land).

    “it's easy to see that you were MEANT to say nothing so you would write this marvelous post and educate potentially thousands rather than one barber or a small room of folks at that barbershop…who might not have been primed to hear your message at that time.”

    I think that says it all

  • Karen L. Kay

    Hey Ken,

    I grew up in South Mississippi in the 1960's… still live her now. I remember those times. I do not blame you for not saying anything. Kristi's right… the guy did have a pair of scissors very close to your head!

    Either way though, you are a peaceful person. If someone else speaks in anger, and you respond in anger, who is then in the right? You did the right thing. You did say something. You told your friends about it. And we appreciate you!

    • KenMcArthur

      You are right Karen, anger escalates anger, hope escalates hope and fear escalates fear. As many brave people have demonstrated, peace and love in the face of hate and fear can be a powerful weapon.

  • Donna

    Ken, I applaud your ability of grace under pressure. Sometimes it is best to do nothing. If that “gentleman” is 69 years old, no matter what you said or did would create an epiphany to the wonders and goodness of our differences. His bigotry and hatred were taught to him, he spent his life around like-minded people, and I am sure that he tried to pass the mind cancer on to his children. He even tries to infect people with whom he comes in contact. I am sure the other barber has heard him every day spew the same narrow-minded comments and may have become immune. That to me is even sadder. We are born with greatness, goodness, and a huge capacity to love and enjoy the wonders of the world. Unfortunately, in some those embers are doused never to spark again. We cannot teach how not to be hateful. We can show how to be joyful and loving and gracious to all.
    p.s. When I need to block out a situation such as yours, I start humming “You've Got to Be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific. No one yet has figured out the tune….even though they have spent their lives living the lyrics!

  • Miro

    Dear Ken;

    It's OK. You do not have to bit yourself. The situation you challenged is a common thing. I am your Friend and totally admire you. You are a DREAM MODEL for most of us, people around. You were moved in your heart because the words of the men were flaying like cutting blades, wild arrows.
    I believe that GOD whom you love so much, and whose service you carry Ken for HUMANITY, gave You a moment of reflection, a moment of sorrow and bitterness in the most unexpected situation, when cutting the hair was always a time of comfort an rest.
    And here you go! Unexpected stream of brutal judgements and discrimination.

    This happened Ken, not to put you down or put you in the state of self judgement or condemnation, but to create the moment of reflection in your heart, which has such a deep sensitivity an carry unlimited LOVE.

    Hate, judgement, condemnation, mockery, slander are DEMON SPIRITS. Many people are caring them in their hearts, in many cases taking the masks of tolerance and acceptance.

    The Bible says that the word can KILL or HEAL.
    You are right that many times we throw these words without control, and every word is a SPIRIT, once released can not by recovered back. IS THERE, and sooner or later we have to take responsibility for our tongue, and be accountable for things which happened due to our words.

    You know me Ken very well. I was emigrant in Canada.

    Today, with all my Canadian experiences, I am richer and more seasoned as a MAN, HUSBAND, CANADIAN CITIZEN, PATRIOT, ENTREPRENEUR, BELIEVER, HUMAN.

    Today I am SAVED. I am saved from rejection, discrimination, mockery, slander, non acceptance and all other Canadian experiences.




    I know that we are not PERFECT, and when we focus on service of others, good things will appear in our own lives.


    With Love and Respect
    Your Brother

    Miro Grudzinski
    /Founder and Member of Development Team/

    1 (416) 828-0670

  • Alexandra1_atl

    Thank you for sharing that experience Ken.

    I think we each have been in that situation at one time or another and it is always shocking when people behave that way. I have found that by the time I have gotten past the horrifying shock of some people's rudeness and disrespect, I have missed my moment and have become very upset about the incident. We simply do not expect people to behave in such blatantly ignorant manners. We do not expect to be subjected to such thoroughly obnoxious behavior. Our silence is often more out of shock than acquiescence, of course!

    This is a really appropriate reminder that we must be on our toes about speaking our truth whatever it may be and using that hard won gift of free speech of which we are so proud. Let him speak his piece and then let each of us speak ours. This is a self correcting society and given the chance we can fix whatever needs fixing. Not by regulation but by the conscience and consciousness of mankind.

    Thank you again for a thought provoking and soul searching post that raises the consciousness of all who share in your delemma. You could have kept silent right here and now but you did not and we have all benefited by your experience.

    Blessings of Courage, Love and Light to you and All,
    Alexandra Barrett

  • Ikmca

    You wrote on a subject very lose to my heart. You had a lot of flattering words about your parents. It made me realize how often I had chances to speak out and failed to do so. Lately I have been working on this weakness in myself. I have been to afraid to get into an argument. Now I want to let others know what I believe.

    • KenMcArthur

      Dad, you and Mom have always inspired me. It's always nice to know that my role models are human and even better to know they keep growing well into their life. I hope I'm growing as much as you in 27 years or so …

  • Arnold R Moore jr

    Ken, it is a wise man that can pick his battles and to know when to do so…even my hero lost his temper at money changers trading in the church. Sometimes we all have to decide when to speak out and sometimes we end up just getting punched out. Alas, life is much still the same as it always has been and that feeling in your gut is what will make a difference.
    You are gifted with this great platform in which you can find many like minded, gentle people that will , someday make a change for the better. Hats off to you for speaking out, without having to walk around with a terrible haircut!

  • Shawn

    Hallo Ken

    The essence of life is not to found in our imperfections and our failures.
    The principles you learn to give moral force to are sometimes the consequence of the awakened conscience.

    My father was a Doctor and he impressed on me this truth. If you find yourself unprepared today or lacking, awaken resolve, so you are not found wanting tomorrow.

    There are many young people in the world who experience that one moment of silence when they realise,there is a time to speak, and they hold to the resolve for the rest of their lives.

    Yes, you are probably still ashamed of that moment, but your resolve has spared you from lacking character in all those other moments.
    Resolve is the difference between speaking words and speaking truth, quietly and clearly , with moral force .

    What did Ghandhi call it ? The FORCE OF TRUTH

    I only say this because, shame and guilt should lead to resolve. Any person who weakens his resolve by keeping quiet against his own inner feeling is asking for trouble. So, the answer is obvious, be healthy and consider those who hear your words. Have you earned respect by them ?


  • luckbeauty

    Ken, in todays society I see no difference in someones color. If you remember from the Bible Everyone was destroyed in the time of Noah, thus making us all a member of his family.
    The only thing about todays politics are the direction our country is taking away from our forefathers and the Bible. We can not turn our back on Israel, and that appears to be the direction of our government.
    Not only that they want us to be socialist, a form of government that has never worked. We have been living in a country that God gave and it is a ashamed the way our present leaders are taking us down the path of destruction.

  • Jane Mark

    I know the pain and the Shame

    When 3 young civil right workers were murdered in Mississippi in 1964, Mississippi turned a blind
    eye but the country rose to the occasion and past the Civil Rights act.

    One of those Civil Right workers was my twenty year old cousin, Andrew Goodman.

    For years, When someone visiting NY, in a store, would mentioned they were from Missisippi,
    the hairs on my neck would stand up and I wanted to scream some terrible epithet at them. I
    refrained- but there were times when I wished I had said something or at least probed a bit
    more deeply.

    I was asked many times to visit Mississippiand be part of the memorial services that
    take place each June 21st at a small Church outside of Phildephia ,Mississippi.

    For years I was afraid to go and politely declined all invitations.

    Finally when my Aunt (Andy's Mom) was well into her 80's and too frail to travel, she
    asked me to stand in for her and go to Mississipi in her stead.

    I coudn't refuse and what I found there has stayed with me for years. I met some of the
    most courageous people I have met anywhere. White newspapermen willing to risk their own lives by writing about the Mississippi burning story even as it unfolded. I met the young presecutor who 45 years after these murders prosecuted one of the killers even under threat of death to his own family.

    I was surrounded by a black community who held me in their arms and comforted me even
    tho they had suffered so many, many loses year after year.

    I went to Missississipi and one of the people who lived through the 1964 murders
    took me around to every place my cousin had been on the fateful day and night that resulted
    in his murder.

    I left Mississip knowing that bravery can triumph over hate. Courage knows no color
    and that it has been left to me to teach the young people of this country a part of history that so many are ignorant of now.

    But despite my Civil Rigths activism on many occsasions, there have been times when
    I have listened and heard terrible things said and I sat silent.

    At the bar at my favorite restuarant in NY is a man making drinks and with almost every one
    that he hands to a customizer some hate filled words sprew from his mouth as he copy cats
    the loud, sometimes violent passions blaring in the background on fox news.

    He seems to relish the spew as much as the lemon he so casually adorns a glass of
    rum and coke with.

    I often stared at him in disbelief and if my eyes could bore into his heart, I would
    make them but it's dinner time. I am with guests and on many occassions I have said

    I understand the Shame and the Pain and I know just what Ken is feeling. I have lived
    them both.

    It is often easier to say nothing then to confront someone and when that happens to
    me, as it has too many times, I remember the newspaper reporters who risked their own
    lives for strangers and the prosecutors who carried on for decades in the pursuit of
    justice and the Mississippi black community that refused to give in or give up until they
    had voting rights in hand and left their communites strewned with the bodies of their loved ones.

    I remember all of them and that brings the courage back and I know that next time, the bar tendor at my favorite restaurant will not have a drink ordered by me and the owners will know why and I will remember Ken's words. I am ashamed.

    Jane Mark

      • Jane Mark

        Hi Linda, That is not the lesson I took away from Mississippi when I went there. If people were never allowed to change and grow and look at things differently then they did when they were young, we would all be in a lot of trouble.

        I was filled with hatred for the people who killed Andy for a long time. My aunt, Andy's Mom, was able to forgive far earlier then I and it was a lesson she taught me well.

        The lesson I look to in from the murder of Andy is the folks, white folks in the background working with the FBI or the journalists that kept investigating until the kids were found and are still investigating today. Robert Byrd joined their ranks, when he disavowed the Kule Klu Klan and became a person to be adminred and respected. If we allow no one to change their minds, then why do try to persuade or comment on anything. Our actions and our words have no meaning unless we can persuade people of their worth.

        • Alexandra1_atl

          Linda and Jane,

          I love this kind of respectful exchange of ideas that can happen between two people and that can benefit everyone. So many have limited information or tend to take on hurt for others. We are empathetic people. Others are more objective and tend to be less empathic and more open to stepping on to see what is next. We all serve each other with our various gifts.

          I love freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas because although there is always the chance that someone may take offense or get their feelings hurt, there is also the chance that we may grow, expand, open, and learn to love each other more fearlessly and more fully regardless of our individual opinions. I am certain that is what the Founding Fathers hoped for and intended.

          Bless both of you and thank you for adding to the exchange of ideas and the chance to express yourselves freely and honestly.


  • Frank Burns

    We're all human beings filled with mixed emotions and sometimes our triggers don't respond to certain situations, but that does not mean we faltered. Compassion and respect for all races is an inherent value we adopt as we age and I don't think for a moment, that we diversify our intent. Your progress over your life span is quite remarkable Ken, there are many aspects of your personality which attract people closer to you and these qualities, are nothing to be ashamed about. You are a leader, a coach, a mentor and someone with a real voice that we can all be proud of.

  • Frida


    Bravo to you for your post. I know how you feel. God has blessed me to be one of those people to have a way with words in terms of being able to address something to someone that may not sometimes be accepted. This goes beyond the racial scene. We have all been in different situations where we have later thought…”I should have said this”, I should have done that. We are blessed with instincts and I am going to assume that your instinct is what made you not say anything. If you had said something to the old man I think he would have listened, maybe stood back for a minute and thought about what you said but I assure you that that 69 years of hate was not going to be affected. I think by admitting that you did not say anything says so much about you. Hang in there.

    PS That little baby picture that you have chosen is so adorable.

    Frida in Texas

  • luckbeauty

    Ken, I replied a while ago ,but got to thinking about your feelings. In todays society things have changed and are radically different from when you were younger. Taking a stance ina Barber Shop would merely put you in jeopordy not feeling any better.
    My be if I explain how I grew up in Texas you might understand.
    Some of my Dad's best friends were of different ethnic groups. He always tried to help them by giving them work, places to live and they were welcome in our home. Some of my playmates were from these families.
    I could tell many stories but it would take to long.
    I even went to Jewish ceremonies because I was raised around them to.
    Being prejudicial comes from fear and lack of knowledge.

  • Lcrystal7

    Please don't be ashamed, you don't have a reason to be ashamed. That Barber is an Uneducated individual that knows nothing about anything, especially the Human Race. He is a Racist and a Bigot that wouldn't know the difference between good and bad. Hopefully God will Forgive him for being the way that he is. Chances are that if any of you there had said anything that he didn't agree with there would have been a nasty confrontation. You did the right thing and the best thing in not saying anything. You are an Honest and Wonderful Person!! Some Day someone will put him in his place and just Pray that no one gets injured in the process.
    Ken, I am Proud to know you and Consider you a Special Friend. Thanks for being there for all of us.

  • KenMcArthur

    It's a wonder to me how small the world has become and how connected.

    When I was growing up the only ways to talk to someone in another country was through expensive international calls or on HAM radio.

    A kind man was nice enough to loan me a radio for a year and I got a chance to realize that people share so much in common.

    Today we are closer than ever. I talk around the world and have friends in many countries. We don't understand each other completely, but we do have much to share.

    Music and movies are storytelling in perfection and what stories we all have to tell.

  • Mona Temchin

    Beautiful post Ken. I am so moved by your searing honesting and self-examination. We've all done less than stellar things on occasion, sometimes from lack of courage. You made up for it by writing this. You just raised the level of conversation on the internet to a higher plane. Kudos.

  • Misato K.

    Very interesting post. I would agree with Lcrystal7, and say that it appears that you really don't have anything to be ashamed of.

    Unlike Lcrystal7 though, I would probably not agree that the barbar was just some uneducated fool. The thing that instill racism in people is the thing people never even consider.

    Our own government! – ( The U.S. )
    They constantly give things, and even make new laws, for one group of people that they do not do for all the other people. It is not alwayst the same group of people that gets this or that, but the point is, is that it is never everybody that gets this or that.

    This in turn breeds prejiduce and hatred towards the people who are being favored by the government, by those who aren't getting the same chance or the same treatment.

    I mean c'mon! What do you think happens to a kid who grows up with a sibling who is always favored by his or her parents? The one who is getting the short end of the stick eventually begins to dislike, become jealous of, and sometimes even hate, the favored sibling.

    Well, same here. So is it really that hard to know why there is still so much racism and predjiduce?

    Our government is hardly ever fair about anything they do.

    If you don't want me to go into a tiraid about how unfair the government is, then don't EVEN think about saying anything to me about our justice system. ;D

  • Vegas Vince

    Vegas Vince here…and sometimes it's nice 2 be me….and NOT have a reputation to ruin…because it allows one to keep it “real.” Capciche!

    I keep it real, bro. My BTR show Sales and Marketing Behind The 8-Ball keeps it real….never kisses ass….or plays the race card to get responses or listeners.

    My one and only product “Barter Arbitrage”…is gonna go down as the top selling product of its kind….because it contains my heart and soul and the best content ever delivered on the subject ….period. That's all I got. I don't have an “agenda” . I don't get invited to JV summits etc.

    I don't need to kiss ass or give warm and fuzzy answers to further my cause.

    Re: your thread?

    I aint buying into this pity party ” race card bait and switch blog” of yours Ken….. because it's pure bullshit.

    And I'm ashamed of the entire thread and purpose behind it…and yet you sucked me right into it….so I guess you're really good….cuz normally I wouldn't waste my time on contrived bs like this.

    I have no doubt you're a good man, Ken.

    You have a good reputation.

    But you're also a good MARKETER…and this is what this entire thread is about……. marketing! Provocation.

    Your objective was to play a certain race card….and provoke responses en masse….. cuz you knew it would work….but it's also called a “cheap pop”

    Cheap Pop?…….it's an old school carnival/pro wrestling jargon term for taking the easy way out….in order to get a reaction.

    You took the easy way out, bro.

    And some of us know…. you're dealing this “card” off the bottom of the deck. And I'm not touched and moved by the barber shop story. I hear shit like that every day in my restaurant…..you hear it every day too…so who is fooling who here!

    What do I know 4 sure and aint afraid 2 say?

    1. I'm ashamed there are ignorant people in the world who still judge a man by the color of his skin…regardless of whether his integrity is good or bad.

    2. I'm ashamed of slick marketers who exploit it to boost response…..and it reminds me of a certain “marketer” named Ryan Deis who sent me an email a few months ago promoting some product of the week of his… many of you got titled:

    “My 9 year old daughter EXPOSES “big”….. (and then it cut off.)

    Don't believe me? Better yet….if you read that what would you think?

    I still have the original email….as do a good portion of other respected marketers who felt the same way I did about that sleazy, creepy, child porn title…to sell some info product.


    3. I'm white. Irish Italian. I'm an independent….or leaning to the libertarian side of things……cuz I have little use for government in my life. With that said….I see “good ” in a lot of people….some I voted for….some I did NOT.

    4. I found “good” in Reagan, Nixon, Clinton, JFK, John McCain, And Bush Sr. ……a lot of others on both sides of the political fence….including Jesse Ventura who never lacked balls and became the gov of the state of Minnesota.

    So Vinnie aint no bleeding heart… or right winger.

    5. So I have no problem saying this about Obama……because it's the truth and let's keep it real.

    While I disagree with many of his policies….I see an articulate, decent man who has a hell of lot more intelligence then the dude before him. Notice I said man….not BLACK MAN.


    And if that's your spin…have the balls to come out and just say it.

    If that's your spin….have the balls to come out and say it people……just say it……”I don't want a black man running MY country”. Better to be ignorant then an ignorant COWARD AT THE SAME TIME.

    Did I cut to the chase?

    And yeah….disagreeing with current president doesn't mean you're racist…..but at the same time there are a hell of lot of racists who disagree with the president……for one reason…..his skin color.

    Now if you don't believe that…you're living in fantasy land.

    I own a restaurant in Florida….and hear the same bullshit everyday Ken.

    I don't like a lot of Obama's policies……but but could give a shit less that he's black. There are a lot of people I hear who could give a shit less about his policies…they are more concerned with the fact he's black.

    And I'm ashamed to serve customers like that…but I don't need to monetize it…cuz that's more shameful and some of you people need to wake up and realize when a PT Barnum post is being put in your email box.

    xxx Vegas Vince
    Sales & Marketing Behind The 8-Ball

    • KenMcArthur

      Hey Vince,

      I'm disappointed that you felt this was a self-promoting scheme and even more disappointed that you felt I was playing a race card to gain customers.

      Gaining customers by exposing my faults doesn't seem like direct marketing to me. I admit, it does let potential customers and clients see me for exactly who I am — if they choose to believe what they read from me.

      I'm not a saint and I'm not the devil and I try to resist any urge to believe anyone who says that I am.

      I've had many people tell me I'm one or the other.

      It's just not true.

      All the best,


    • luckbeauty

      I care less his color! However I care for this country and what it is suppose to stand for not the high powered talk we get. Denying I faithful allies belittling
      what our forefathers stood for. Breaking our backs economically and selling us down the tube.

  • Kat Tansey

    Rosanna — I agree with you that satire, while it may be lost on the person in question, is often a way to spin a few heads. That Kingston Trio song is a great example of how the folksingers in the time of the 60's used music and humor to open hearts and minds.