“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
1 John 4:20, KJV
“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war, me say war…”
Bob Marley and The Wailers, “War”, Rastaman Vibration, 1976
I am so overwhelmed with emotions as I write this that my heart is about to burst right through my chest. I have so much to say about racism in America, but for all intents and purposes, I will scale my lengthy manifesto down to my usual thousand words. Also, I need to make certain that whoever reads this article understands that I write what I write because I like to share information as I receive it, in an effort to uplift and inspire. I believe we can all learn from one another if we try to understand. Although I am a Black woman, I don’t treat my cousins different because they are Latino, just like my nephew doesn’t favor his White mother over his Black father. We love each other the same, no matter what, in spite of our differences. We all love God and God is Love. We are all blessed by His love every day of our lives, and that’s all I have to say about that.
Now, you would think that my issues with racism began early in life, since I was the only black girl in my class for 5 years, but my first significant incident dealing with my race occurred at Stillwater High during my sophomore English class with Mrs. Piersall. We were reading “Huckleberry Finn” and I swear every time someone had to say, “Nigger Jim”, the whole class looked at me. There may have been another Black student in the class, but I can only speak for myself, and I felt extremely uncomfortable about that word being used so freely among Caucasian people, even though they were only reading the words printed on a page. Nevertheless, I received permission to read another selection for my assignment, that would be graded by the head of the English department, Mrs. Walkewitcz. I read Native Son. I got an A+ on my paper. What lesson did I learn from the whole ordeal? There are certain things we can all say to one another that are generally acceptable in present day society, on the other hand, there are a few things we all cannot say to one another, period. And we have to accept these practices as the cultural differences between our races or nationalities that may be considered offensive or politically incorrect.
For example, I don’t feel there will ever be a time when I can call my white friends and family, “Crackers”, “Peckawoods”, or “Rednecks”, no matter how much we love each other, no matter what the circumstances may be. And if I just so happen to be around a group of white people who just so happen to be using those terms to communicate with each other, I STILL don’t think that it’s cool to use the aforementioned terms myself. Same concept applies to the “N” word. I will never, under any circumstances, be comfortable with someone of a different race using that word to communicate with me. Period. We could argue for years about the double standard of using the “N” word at all, but as I stated earlier, there are some cultural differences we should just accept as the norm and keep on pushing.
The unfortunate events that have taken place over the past few weeks have literally taken my breath away. It amazes me that we live in a country that could unify enough people to elect a Black man for President, but we still have political systems designed to protect police officers out there who openly discriminate against minorities in the name of enforcing and upholding the law. From the incident in South Carolina with the young Black girl being body slammed and dragged out of her classroom by a White deputy to the Missouri football team uniting as one to bring about a change in leadership on their campus, the war against racism is just as prevalent to our society today as it was 50 years ago. True, we have made tremendous progress since then, but we still have a lot of work to do. When we see or experience racism ourselves, we should speak out against it. We should also be more diligent with sharing the uniqueness of our worlds so future generations can learn from our mistakes.
Tomorrow, all across the nation, families will gather together to share food, conversation, laughter and love. Some families will eat a feast consisting of turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, while another family may serve turkey and dressing, macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pie. Though the details may differ slightly, is one meal more American than the other? At the end of the day, no matter what color you are, we all want the same thing–acceptance and love. Whether you are Black, Caucasian, Latino or Native American, you will be grateful and thankful to fellowship with people you know and love. My own family is rich with ethnic diversity and multicultural backgrounds, a real-life modern family, but none of that even matters to us because of our love for each other.
For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. That’s the kind of love you have to have to love and accept a race of people who once deemed you less than human. That’s the kind of love you have to have to embrace new cultural norms and customs introduced by the family dynamic of the 21st century. That’s the kind of love you have to have to bring about peace and understanding among us all. Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time…