Nothing is as it seems: seen on my road

img_20170302_034557When driving up to Holy Souls Hermitage on a many-miles-long one-lane, no-fault road straight up the mountain, I saw this flag hanging about 25 feet up. I understand that some who are not from here have some historical appreciation of General Lee, blah blah blah. Around here this flag hardly means more than death to anyone black. Racism is one of the things which makes me really quite angry. Yet, I laughed out loud the second I saw this flag as I knew immediately the intent was fraudulent, at least to a degree. Yes, it’s true that this is perhaps the most violent road with the most murders in Western North Carolina (which is saying really a lot). Yes, I really think it’s true that any black man might well not make it out alive if seen anywhere on this road, with the murderer forgetting about it seconds later. Nevertheless, it seems that a pact with LA’s Crips and Bloods was made on this very road, perhaps not far from this flag, at least that is what I was told by a friend, the lead negotiator, all of which was cautiously confirmed to me, three times, by the head of the local law enforcement. The flag is simply a smokescreen screaming “We’re racist here, and we will kill you.” The reality seems to be that far reaching drug deals can be made freely with anyone black, as it would never be dreamed, it is thought, that anyone black could ever possibly be on this road. Clever.

Having said all that, being white helps on this road. I wouldn’t want to be black and alone here. If a vehicle stops in front of you and one stops behind you, with a cliff to the one side and a ravine on the other, and the road only one car-width wide, there’s simply no place to go. Being a white boy myself, I never much feared driving on this road, even though one – how to say it? – “white trash” boy tried a number of times to ram my vehicle into the ravine. I can pretty much take care of myself.

But hey! I’m still waiting for my AncestryDNA results. It’s now been six weeks so I should know in the next few weeks where I come from. I can guess that there will be percentages from Scotland/Northern England; from Germany, from Poland. But, just for the sake of political correctness[!], I’m hoping for something from Africa as well. I mean, if that’s the case, I think I would advertise that on the back of my vehicle: I’m a Catholic priest, and Jewish, and Black, all at once, though I look to be 100% white boy. Wouldn’t that be a hoot in WNC? I wonder what the KKK grand dragon wizard guy, whatever they call him, down the road would think of that. I wonder if he would submit to a DNA test to see if he’s got any African background in him. :¬)

Nothing is as it seems. We’re all children of God. We’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God. He’s redeemed us all. None of us of ourselves are better than anyone else. We’re not against each other. We’re against the fallen angels. It doesn’t seem that way at first glance, but we’re actually not our own saviors. It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. We just need to help each other get to know Him better, regardless of the unrepeatable circumstances whence we are called by the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.


Filed under Racism

12 responses to “Nothing is as it seems: seen on my road

  1. pelerin

    I’m sure I read somewhere that scientists/paleontologists now believe that Africa was indeed the cradle of civilisation from whence we all came. If this were more widely known it would make racism look ridiculous.
    Will be interested to see which part of England your ancestors hailed from!

  2. SognPlaci

    Tell us more about AncestryDNA. Is this expensive?

  3. elizdelphi

    My mom is into genealogy and belongs to the Daughters of the American Revolution and a Mayflower Descendants group. I have no information that they are in any way racist or anti-immigrant but I have always felt very uncomfortable with this for “PC” reasons. It is all white people proud of being descendants of the supposedly “original” (white) Americans. I have not done a DNA test but from the genealogy I do not seem to have any black or Native American ancestry in recorded time. The thing is my mom’s line of descent will apparently die out since […] I am celibate.

    I am not sure it is wise for people who appear 100% white to claim to be black unless, perhaps, they grew up in a black family or culture from childhood. there is that case of that girl Rachel Dolezal whose claims to be black seem to be little appreciated by anyone. I would like for society to pronounce as clearly on the far more clear cut situation of men claiming to be women or vice versa.

    • Father George David Byers

      @ elizdelphi – I never claimed to be wise. Perhaps a wise-guy! How about me being a Jew when it is 100% clear that I’m a Catholic priest? I like playing the part of the underdog. Perhaps I do a really bad job of it, with really bad motives, you know, of playing a bit like Saint Philip Neri, that is, for lessons that can be made, perhaps, though, sometimes with good motives.

  4. pelerin

    Father – you follow in the footsteps of Cardinal Lustiger who remained proud of his Jewish origins all his life. Jewish prayers were prayed at his funeral by one of his young relatives. I treasure the memory of a short conversation I had with him in Paris some years ago. I wonder if there are any other Jewish Cardinals or if he was the only one?

  5. I have participated in the National Geographic deep ancestry study ( and 23-and-me (, the former being a study to track human migrations, and the latter dealing with both medical matters and ancestry.
    It is fascinating stuff!

    Yes, it’s been apparent for some time that Mankind emerged from Africa and migrated over the globe with amazing speed.

  6. Reminds me of Thanksgiving back in the 70’s and 80’s when my folks were still alive. We sat around the table and gave thanks for our ‘united nations family.’ Without DNA testing, just the little knowledge we had about our family history, we were aware of 10 nationalities and two faiths. Ah, those were the days.

  7. pelerin

    It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet. Have just discovered that the US has had a Jewish Cardinal too. The mother of Cardinal O’Connor of New York was Jewish and her father was an Orthodox Rabbi.

  8. pelerin

    Have also discovered that Cardinal O’Connor never knew about his Jewish ancestry. His sister only discovered about their rabbi grandfather when investigating their genealogy after the death of her brother.

  9. elizdelphi

    I don’t see a problem with someone from a Jewish female line claiming to be Jewish, while I realize some might object that certain ceremonies are lacking. And religiously, the Catholic religion is the fulfillment of the Jewish religion, in continuity.

    I never think your motives are bad, Father, and I am edified by your various lessons or I would not hang around here.

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