Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Solution to the Race ramble

Anyone else wondering what in the world is going on in our country these days? 

Seriously - the 1960s called and want their riots, protests, racism and shootings back. 

I'll admit that I have a soft spot for the African American community. I was raised in a low income, very mixed community. I had lots of friends of differing ethnicities growing up. I'll say it - I think I thought I was black for a short while when I was a kid. I love the black culture and in the words of Jerry Maguire, "I love black people."

I've seen my black friends get pulled over and have their vehicles searched for literally no reason. I've seen restaurant owners not accept checks from black patrons, and then turn and take one from a white person. If you're white and you think that Condi Rice and Barack Obama signify the end of racism, you're wrong. Racism is alive and and thriving. People are still using the "N" word. Black people still face a life white folks know nothing about.

I hate that that is true. It makes no sense to me. Never has. 

At the same time, I've also been called lots of names by black people. I've heard comments made about "people like me" and felt the sting of "if only you knew I was that person." You know, people with no fathers. People whose parents accepted government assistance. People who lived on the streets. People who have suffered trauma and abuse... I could go on....

Because of my background it would have been very easy to assume every roadblock and rejection meant I would never "x, y or z". But, because I was not satisfied, I pushed harder, worked harder, studied harder. I withstood being called a goody-two-shoes, a nerd, teacher's pet, "Barbi" and lots of other things that were hurtful and made me question myself, my worth, and my abilities because I knew if I didn't I'd get stuck.

It is easy to let what others say about you define you. It's easy to look at statistics and say "see, statistically, I can't". It's harder and requires courage, bravery, hard work and perseverance to say "take your statistics and eat dirt...I'm gonna work my arse off to be the person and have the life I want."

If you're black, I get that even if you make it out of the projects (like I did) and even if you break generational sin and create a new generation (like I did), and even if you achieve greater things than you ever imagined breaking statistical barriers and stereotypes you still will have to deal with things I do not. You still will have hardships I know nothing about. My point is, don't let that make you a victim. You are a not a victim. 

I have heard two or three times this week that black folks today are victims of a white-supremacy/slave culture. No, no you are not. That's not our culture today. You are a victim of sin. Just like many other people. Sin is the cause of racism and it isn't a white disease. Slavery didn't create the problems facing blacks today. Brown skinned and other skinned people have been targeted throughout history. Even among their own groups - hatred and stigma was placed on darker skinned by the lighter skinned. The slave trade didn't ignite that and desegregation and affirmative action aren't going to stifle it.

Let's not continue to place blame on this very small, yet tragic and horrific, part of human history. The fact is, this is not new. The Europeans didn't invent it. The Columbia Exchange didn't create it. It may have exacerbated it. But, we have moved on.

I can't help but thing that our black ancestors - you know...the ones we see pictures of in out History books covered in scars, hung from trees, would look at things today and shake their heads. Our country, not just for blacks but for all of us has grown and matured. We are in many ways more free and blacks have **legally** achieved more than I think the Civil Rights Movement imagined possible in a historically speaking short period of time. Like I said - there are people who are still racist. But those people can be charged with hate crimes if they act on those feelings.

Which is my overall point. Feelings are just that - feelings. You cannot change people's feelings. You can create legislation to keep them from acting on those feelings...but there's no amount of legislation of "change" that is going to right the wrongs that the thoughts and feelings associated with racism create.

The only cure for racism is a heart turned to God and seeking him. It is a heart of love that sees each man as an individual.

I see two protests meeting in the street. Black Lives Matter on one side and their opponents on the other. They are screaming at each other. Much like in any relationship, standing on the line in the sand pointing fingers never leads to resolution, never leads to harmony, never leads to peace. 

White folks need to realize we're never gonna know the true experience of a black person. I think we have to individually acknowledge our own ignorance and our own inability to know that experience. We can have empathy - and should demonstrate it.

Black folks need to realize, white doesn't equal "easy" and it also doesn't always mean "out to get you". Most police (statistically) want to help. They want to keep ALL neighborhoods safe. Most are not going to shoot someone for no reason. 

Put down the wagging finger and find some common ground. The real enemy is colorless. The real enemy is not white or black. The real enemy is sin. Satan has found a way to divide and conquer. While our nation is facing one of the worst presidential elections in history, about to elect someone most people despise (Trump or Clinton - both fit that description), still waging war, dealing with terrorism... Satan has found another foothold. 

We are all Americans, we are all citizens in a free land. Both sides need to seek unity rather than division. The best way to prove someone wrong about what they think about you is to just live your life. You're never gonna make an argument good enough that your opponent/adversary has an "aha"
moment. In order for people to believe I wasn't just some other kid from the projects that didn't speak well or have any drive, I had to not be that person. That's it. I couldn't stand on the street screaming it - I had to live it - every day, all the time. 

I don't think we'll ever live in a time where all racism is gone, because people are sinful and the human heart is a wicked thing. The human race will always struggle. But, individually, we can have relationships; we can create harmony; we can be examples of Christ's love; we can demonstrate peace. 

That's my goal. I'm not here to minimize anyone's abuse or experience. I just want us all to move forward. Stop blaming. Stop name calling. Stop yelling. Stop demanding. Start being who you want to be. Start setting better examples for our kids. Start just loving people and appreciating them, even if you don't "get" them. 

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