Hate sucks, that’s just all there is to it. When one class of people decides to define itself by the color of their skin, no one wins, and everyone plays a dangerous game of roulette, because as one is elevated, the other is negated, and at any time that tide can turn. And while the cruelty remains, deep and painful scars mark the recipients for generations.
Throughout history, one race – ethnicity or tribe – decides their neighbors are less than human. They begin to look at the other as a tool for whatever it is they need to get done or want to abuse. Such an awful practice, such an awful history, and while Americans tend to think this issue is referring to white vs black skin colors, or white vs yellow or brown skin colors – EVERY race has a history that includes a time when they made slaves of another.
The idea that anyone could erase the evil is preposterous. It cannot be undone. And as long as the scars remain, so will the moaning over the memory, and the yearning that it could be somehow reversed. If we have a heart and good sense, we’ll acknowledge the evil and learn from it, that we’d do a better job of raising our children to love, connect, and befriend people regardless of color, religion, or nationality. That we’d recognize and thwart racist behaviors, and refuse to allow another to be harassed in our presence for any reason.
So here it is, 2018, and some are still alive who remember what it was like to be degraded during America’s white supremacy years. We want to believe we have learned. We want to believe we are past such horrific mindsets and behaviors, but the truth is, until the return of Jesus and a New Jerusalem, we’ll be surrounded by hate. The Old Testament referred to the Jebusites, which represented ethnic strongholds and class distinctions.
How does a culture elevate themselves beyond such base behavior? How does a people get beyond where they’ve been, when there are still small minds alive that categorize others according to skin, or status, or clothing? I’m not sure if we’ll ever see it as a people, but as a person, I can be a light in a dark place, and each of us has an opportunity – and responsibility – to choose better conversation, better expectations, and higher living, if we are going to set a better example for the next generation. They need to see us modeling our expectations of them or the cycle has no choice but to continue.
That means that when a retail clerk treats you unfairly, you smile and realize that person was actually smaller inside than you are. It does not mean you teach your children that they were ostracized because of their skin. It means that when your kid works hard to get a higher education, and is looked over – you do not perpetuate a class distinction, but consider that it happens quite frequently, given that ALL cannot enter.
See, if we’re not careful, we want to look at life through the lens of unfairness. The trouble with that is we’re not guaranteed a fair life. ‘Fairness’ in and of itself, has nothing to do with a racist judgement.
We must be cautious not to perpetuate narratives that are framed through the news and social medias for ONE reason and ONE reason only – sensationalism intended to breed contempt. Divide and conquer is a war strategy.
We must follow the money, and ask ourselves, “who wins if we are convinced another race hates us?” Our nation is not very old, and we have enemies. Our military is well aware and on guard against the subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to hack and subvert and infiltrate. How is it we are so inclined to slip right back into hate on the slant and suggestion of media bias? Are we really so ready to believe propaganda? Can we not recognize how differently journalism is shared today, can we not see through the sneers and innuendo and remarks and framing of each and every story?
Well, maybe not.
But I for one have made a choice. I’ve decided that I won’t allow anyone to tell me I’m somehow ‘privileged’ because that word means whoever views me like that thinks they are less than me. It means they believe that I believe I’m more than THEM, and I most certainly do not. I won’t allow another person to tell me what I think, what I have lived through, or that their story has more validity than mine because they are another color. That’s not saying that racism doesn’t exist in small minds – it’s saying I refuse to play. It stops HERE – if no one else can stop it. I can’t control how another person feels about me, how they might view my life, or how they view their own. ALL of us have the ability to look at life as though we’re victims or overcomers. It’s a mindset. It’s a choice. It’s a choice Martin Luther King Jr. and others made and adhered to, that they would no longer allow themselves to be considered ‘less than.’ And NONE can argue they truly changed the United States of America.
I want our kids to grow up in a world where they are no longer playing tug-of-rope with power, but the truth is, they always will. To be truly strong, competent, and exude power that improves the world, they must learn that shallow and loud is still small. They must learn vocal and peace go together. They must learn to appreciate another person for the qualities they bring to the table, not the stereotypes it is so easy to assume.
They must learn that love conquers all, to think for themselves, and decide to be intolerant of hate and unmoved by insults they may experience.
As for those who would continue to foster the notion of ‘white privilege’ long after a black president, long after exclusive black colleges – framing every move our officers and politicians take to protect our communities and borders through the victimized lens of unfairness … which was the very point of the propaganda we’ve been fed …
I refuse to hate you because you think I do. I refuse to hate you because you think I think I’m better. I refuse to hate you because you think you are less, or that your skin color is a disadvantage. There is no ‘privilege’ without one believing they are less than another. It saddens me that you might think so low of yourself.
Your story is not worth more than mine, your struggle is not more important than mine, your life doesn’t get to matter more than mine because of the color of your skin – or the color of mine – or the histories of our parents. If today will be a new day, it will bring with it new opportunities, and I choose to embrace them. So should you.
I choose to respect you, to adore you, to enjoy you, appreciate you, and to learn from you. And one day, you will see our skin was not something we had to look past, excuse, or apologize for.
One day, you will love me, too.