It is another pristine day on the back porch. Zoom church was especially enriching this morning. I am proud that I am still batting 1000 in zoom church attendance, as I open my computer and join the meeting! We walked on campus earlier today and I, once again, enjoyed seeing families out…and some with lawn chairs.
Over the course of my life I have noticed that we Americans either do not speak frankly about our ideas regarding race relations or when we communicate we do so through the prism of our preconceived ideas about each other. Mr. George Floyd was brutally and callously murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A police officer committed the murder against the protestations of the assembled and concerned onlookers…as the officer’s colleagues stood silently while Mr. Floyd narrated his own death. As his life ebbed away…he called for his mother…who had been deceased for two years. Real change is what we all desire. Hateful and hurtful words screamed at each other…is not communication…and is producing no results. When we objectify another human being…we diminish our humanity and terrorize their humanity.
There is white privilege…if you are not aware of it…you are white. Imagine, with me, that you are driving your automobile and a police cruiser turns into your lane and is behind you. You stiffen and become obsessed with your speed and your control of the car…and you worry whether or not the tail and break lights are working…and…these chest clenching feelings occur every time you see a police car?
Role play, if you will, that you have entered a department store. Immediately one of the employees begins to walk a few feet behind you. When you stop to look at some pants or a shirt that you may try on…they stop…and when you make eye contact with the store matron…they avert their eyes…until you begin walking again…and they continue to follow.
Have you ever been greeted with the; clack clack clack…of door locks…as you walk to your car in a full parking lot?
When a white boys father has the ‘talk’ with his son…he most likely will explain the birds and the bees to him. When a black youth’s mother has the talk with her son…she explains…through tears…exactly how he must conduct himself if and when the police stop him. Why don’t you ask your black friends…if they have had the ‘talk?’
I have many African American friends. When I began at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, one of my student staff from Ghana, Africa, told me that all of the international students wanted to work for me…because that I had no prejudice. I was humbled and honored by such a loving comment, and I have striven to be worthy of it…from that day until today…
When my black friends accept me as their friend…I am honored! My experiences with African Americans have not only been positive…but they are some of the most real people that I have been privileged to know. My friends are both dignified and honorable…they are astute and can see through artifice and duplicity…with a laser beam focus…
Racism is the cancer of our society. It is a philosophy of, hate and hurt and death. There are two societies in our nation. There is those who have all that they need and some to spare. The live in gated communities and work and worship with people that look like them and attend the same social organizations that they do. They recreate and belong to the same Golf Clubs. They take cruises and visit Europe and the Opera…and collect fine art. When the 2020 pandemic arrived…social distancing was not a problem. Also, it was not an issue to be away from work for two and one half months, or to work from home. A missed pay day did not affect the bottom line…and the stock market continued to do pretty good, while 40 million Americans were out of work…
The other society lost their job during the pandemic and soon did not have money to buy food. They did not have money to pay their rent. They used to shoot hoops on their, dilapidated basketball court…where there have not been any nets for many years…but they were ordered to stay at home. Their apartment had 8 people and two rooms. The children enjoyed the meals that the school cafeteria cooked for them…breakfast and lunch….but there was little to nothing to find in the cupboards or refrigerator. Instead they were locked in with mom, who tried to protect them, from their very angry dad… When news of the stock market is on the TV…everyone laughs…bitterly!
One society, during our 2020 pandemic, had a group of men surround the Minnesota Statehouse, with automatic weapons strapped to their backs, as they got one inch from the faces of the officers that were guarding the governor and state officials, and they spat in the officers faces with angry and frightening grimaces and facial contortions…that any person would deem a real and present threat.
The other society had a lone African American man, arrested and handcuffed…who through a multitude of video showed no resistance….Slowly die as an officer kept his knee on the man’s neck over two minutes after he became unresponsive….