act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities
for a particular group.
Perhaps thatís the wrong word; maybe it should be bewildered, or
confused. Iím not certain I know which word fits the way I feel
at this moment.
Having grown up in the South during segregated times; Iím old enough
to remember how we used to live. In looking back on those years
I think to myselfÖthat was stupid. There was absolutely no call
for the division we lived under for all of those years. Segregation
was stupid. Slavery was stupid. But you know, I didnít make the
rules so donít blame me. I could change the rules, which is what
I choose to do by the way I looked at other members of our society
and I could raise my children to respect the rights of others and
to treat others as they themselves would want to be respected.
But you know I must have been asleep these past forty or so years
since we became an integrated society. Iíve been going to church
all of those years and not once have I heard any of my pastors denounce
any other race in our country or lay blame at the doorstep of anyone
else but ourselves. I have been under the impression that we were
making progress in this country when it came to racial matters.
I did not realize that I was mistaken.
And mistaken I have been. As I listen to the sermons preached in
Reverend Wrightís church in Chicago last week and his apparent hatred
for white Americans, I cannot help but wonder how much of this is
happening in other churches throughout the country. Here, my family
and I have been sitting in the pews Sunday after Sunday listening
to love and respect for all while other Christian churches are preaching
a doctrine of Ďliberationí theology that puts the blame for their
social ills on my back. Iím sorry but, the truth of the matter is
that I never owned any slaves, my parents never owned any slaves
and their parents never owned any slaves. What happened before that
I do not know.
But let me ask you this, how do we as Americans, not Irish-Americans,
Italian-Americans, German-Americans or African-Americans but Americans
who were born in this country get past these societal issues that
continue to drag us down at every juncture? Iíve said this and Iíll
say it again, slavery was wrong, but so was indentured servitude.
The slave trade could not have flourished without the aid and assistance
of some of the citizenry of a number of African nations. Did that
make it right, of course not and no one in their right mind thinks
so in this day and age.
are injustices in every personís life, yours as well as mine. We
donít have enough time to discuss them in this column. Injustice
isnít a new thing; I suppose Adam and Eve felt they were dealt with
rather sharply for eating an apple. Old Jacob certainly wasnít happy
when he found out he had to wait 14 years to marry Rachel instead
But you know,
unlike what one of presidential candidates said last week, I donít
think of myself as a Ďtypical white personí. I donít weigh myself
down with bias and prejudices for other people just because they
donít look like me or even think like me. They are my fellow country
men and women, they are Americans to me. They are what this country
was founded about in the first place.
Do we have
problems in this country, sure, what country doesnít? Are we making
progress towards the resolution of these problems? Iíd like to think
But you know one of my pastors used to tell me that ďunless we can
learn to get along with each other here in the nasty now and now,
it sure going to be difficult living with other in the sweet bye
I hope Iím wrong and that what we saw last week is an aberration
and not the norm. I would like to believe that and that we as Americans,
are making strides towards better relationships between our varied
ethnic groups rather than greater division. Itís time we did.
Iím not blaming youÖ..donít blame me.
I think someone said a little over 200 years agoÖ ďUnited we stand,
but divided we fall.Ē
I think those words are probably more appropriate today than ever