Every time I get despondent about the way things are I am buoyed by the kindness and the goodness of ordinary people, good and decent people who sometimes place their lives on the line when they didn’t have to.
People who extend themselves graciously in circumstances and at times when it would have been easy and convenient to simply stand aside, they step forward in times of trouble and turmoil for others who do not look like them, do not live where they live, do not worship in the same church.
It is so easy to be negative about the things we see happening around us racially, not that we shouldn’t be vigilant but I have always sought to remind those I come in contact with that deep down we are all God’s people regardless of our skin color.
Like the myriad species of fish in the great big Oceans, the cornucopia of different flowery hues in a meadow, Black people, White People, Brown people are all God’s children in the meadow of life.
Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner traveled from Meridian, Mississippi, to the community of Longdale to talk with congregation members at a church that had been burned. The trio was thereafter arrested following a traffic stop outside Philadelphia, Mississippi, for speeding escorted to the local jail and held for a number of hours. As the three left town in their car, they were followed by law enforcement and others. Before leaving Neshoba County their car was pulled over and all three were abducted, driven to another location, and shot at close range. The three men’s bodies were then transported to an earthen dam where they were buried.[wikipedia]
Chaney the young black man was understandably fighting for the rights and dignity of blacks including himself, Goodman, and Schwerner did not have to care, they did not have to offer themselves to change the arc of injustice, they did not have to give their lives but they did.
The systemic abuse and the dehumanizing treatment Black Americans faced for over four hundred years which culminated in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960’s, did not go away when President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act into law.
Black Americans simply got fat and lazy, simply put, African-Americans began an unprecedented slide into a sense of immorality and lascivious behavior which eviscerated the gains made by the greatest generation which marched and died in the struggles of the 60’s.
Black Americans forgot one little thing, the fight was not over.
Today there are no black leaders, no black leadership organizations which have not been compromised by the behaviors I outlined above or which haven’t been rendered useless by covert intelligence activities.
So is this reason to give in to despair, are we at a point where we all go to our individual corners in this tiresome and seemingly existential racial back and forth?
Do we cower in fear as racial animus raise its ugly head, do we withdraw from our brothers and sisters who look differently than we do now that the putrid stench of hate has been given fertile soil in which to grow?
I say no!
I am always hopeful about the future, not just about the things which are recorded in history and seared into our psyches like the killing of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, but in the little things which are easy to miss.
People like Miss Imoudio, my dearly departed son’s grade school teacher who turned up at his funeral-service years after he had left her care and was a third-year college student.
She cared about her students so she turned up to offer comfort. Miss Imoudio just happen to have white skin.
It is people who work at the Bank I use, people who left their jobs when they did not have to, to come and offer their hugs and words of comfort to my family and me in our darkest hour.
It gives rise to the kind of hope former President Obama speak about, the hope which comes from meeting people who are totally different who would give you the clothes off their backs.
It’s my many friends who sat me down and gave me advice as I ventured out into business, [men, and women who just happen to be white] which gives me hope that this problem which seems so insurmountable at times will not overwhelm us all.
No, racism and bigotry are not going away, it is human nature to crave one-up-manship.
Those with power never give that power up, we use whatever tools we have at our disposal to justify ignorance and bad behavior.
It’s important that we do not lose hope amidst the noise and recriminations, it’s important to remember that we were all created by the same God even when we struggle to believe it.
The struggle for civil rights and human dignity is a generational struggle. Young men and women who marched with torches in Chorletsville Virginia shouting Nazi slogans were not born racist bigots.
They learned those behaviors from those around them, usually parents, close relatives, and peers. It is important that those who push back against that kind of bigotry and hatred must also learn the strategies and methods which are necessary to ensure that good prevails over evil.