O B Yancey III / by Michael Falco

Who is O B Yancey III?

O B Yancey was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. He worked for his dad's construction company in high school and briefly attended the University of Richmond before leaving after completing one semester. He now owns his own custom cabinet shop and has been self-employed for the last thirty years. O B is of Scotch, Irish, French, German, and Polish descent. He wants to sell his business and retire. He and his wife have opposing political views.

Excerpt from interview with O B Yancey by Whitney Dow, 2018

Yancey: [09:58:04] In my business I have black customers. I have Hispanic customers. My business philosophy—and I will carry this to my grave because it was the way I was raised— anything I do for one of my customers, I ask myself one question before I deliver it, or before I build it for them. Is this good enough to go in my home? If not, then that’s not going to go in yours. I don’t care what color you are, where you came from. If it’s not good enough for me, it’s not good enough for you.

Q: And in that same vein of religious belief, would you make something for an interracial couple? Would you make something for a gay couple?

Yancey: [09:58:46] I already have. I have. Many, many years ago, one of the first times I worked, sort of worked for myself—I was more in the construction, contracting, rather than just cabinet work. I did a huge amount of work for an interracial couple right over on the Lakeside area. I have done several kitchens here in town for gay couples. Like I said, it should be my choice. If there can’t be laws to prevent gay marriage, interracial marriage, then there can’t be laws to demand that I have to. It’s my choice. I use the wedding cake example. I said if I were a baker. I’m not, but that has come up. That very situation has come up. And that’s just getting to be too much government. You know, the government puts their nose in way too many places that it doesn’t belong. So, I should have the right to choose. If they have the right to choose, I have the right to choose. So, there.

Q: [coughs] Sorry about that cough.

Yancey: [10:00:07] Don’t you be dying on me in the middle of this interview, now.

Q: When you say you have experience, do you have experience with interracial marriage in your family?

Yancey: [10:00:19] Not interracial marriage. No. My daughter dated a black guy for a while. One of the finest people I’ve ever known in my life. I was not happy about it. I’m glad it didn’t run its course and they got married. Although I will tell you that in 2000, I was in hospital with pneumonia for almost two weeks, and flat on my back for four weeks at home. And had it not been for this young man, my hunting dogs probably would have starved to death because I was in no condition to take care of them. And without—I guess my daughter asked him. I didn’t. He volunteered. He came over to my house every day and fed and watered my dogs, cleaned the pens, everything. And I will forever be grateful for that.

As you may or may not know, my daughter-in-law has an interracial child. We try very, very hard to not treat him any differently than we do with the rest of their kids. One of my brother-in- laws was married to a Filipino girl. She was crazy as eight snakes, but [laughs] they’re not together any more. But they had three of the most gorgeous daughters you’ve ever seen in your life. And all three of them are, you know, successful, and either married with children, or working on it. So, yeah. I have some experience in my life with interracial and inter-nationality relationships.

Q: So I guess, I wonder, seeing those examples in your life, it still makes you uncomfortable, though. And do you have—

Yancey: [10:02:19] Well, let’s—

Q: Go ahead.

Yancey: [10:02:21] Uncomfortable to a point. But I will say this. It has—not that anybody had to twist my arm necessarily. But it has—instead of using the word forced, I’ll use the word taught me to be a little more tolerant. Am I really gung-ho about it? Not really. Do I recommend it to everybody? Absolutely not, but we’re dealing here with my faith, my opinions, and that sort of thing. So just like I can’t force you to abide by my religious beliefs, I can’t force you or anybody else to abide by any other belief that I have.

Interview Transcript