When I retired my world shrunk tremendously. No longer do I see the hundreds of daily interactions between people and groups of people. Now I dine with my wife daily and eat and talk with three male friends twice a week. My first thought is maybe I’m not the one to comment on racism. Yet, I’ve often written on subjects I didn’t know much about. When that happens I sprinkle my thoughts with questions as opposed to dogmatic absolutes.
I grew up in the turbulent 50s and 60s. As a child I remember watching George Wallace, then governor of Alabama, block African Americans from entering the University of Alabama. I remember John F Kennedy sending the National Guard to Alabama to open the University up to Afrian American students. Racism in the 1960s was huge and it producing a decade, or more, of battles between White and African Americas. There were laws, statutes and ordinances that separated white and black America.
• African Americans attended separate schools and churches
• African Americans could only used public bathrooms marked “for colored only”
• ate in a separate section of a restaurant
• sat in the rear of a bus
• prejudice commercials lit up early television
We’ve come a long way since those early years of racism. But that doesn’t mean I deny that racism exit today. Yet I believe it’s a different kind of racism? One that has morphed into ‘racial microagression,’ a type that is more of the daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities. And whether intentional or unintentional, they communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color. Personally I see a marked difference between the racism of today and the early racism I grew up with. I’m sure someone everyday faces racial microaggression but I’m wondering if these are pockets of problems as opposed to problems in mass?
I have a few questions
1) Is racism really nationwide and spreading as we’re led to believe?
2) Is it possible that there is a calculated divisiveness meant to split this nation?
3) African American Presidential candidate Ben Carson, who I highly respect, has said that racial issues are being stoked using the principles from Saul Alinsky’s playbook (Rules for Radicals)?
4) Is it going to take another 09/11 before we, once again, call policeman and fireman heroes?
Yes, there have been a number of young unarmed African Americans gunned down. But why disrespect authority? My mother always warned me, “Obey your authorities and you’ll be just fine. Disobey them and something bad could happen. Maybe unproportionately bad.”
Do the above mentioned shootings bring to life underlying racial issues in America? I’m not sure but I wonder? If you take race out of the issue altogether and you take a group of young men and you raise them with no respect for authority, not learning to take on personal responsibility, having easy access to drugs and alcohol, they are very likely to end up as victims of violence and incarceration no matter there color.
Maybe I’m wrong about all this. It certainly wouldn’t shock me if I was. But you know what? I’m here to make you think, so so-what if I’m wrong. Helping the reader to think in new ways is always my goal.
No matter what I think of today racism God’s people can always do better. I’m totally committed to treating everyone like I want to be treated, no matter the color of their skin
Here are five ways I want to be treated
1) I want others to encourage me
2) I want others to appreciate me – William James said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
3) I want others to forgive me
4) I want others to listen to me
5) I want others to understand me
I have some good news! Your skin color and the culture you were born into were God’s idea in his infinite creativity. I also have some bad news. Given the human condition, we will never totally rid ourselves of racism in this age, anymore than we will totally rid ourselves of lust and pride. The last sentence you just read may seem to be cause for despair. But it actually precludes despair.