So all you white folks think another round of ‘kumbaya’ sitting by the campfires is going to fix this problem? Really?
Black Americans, Latino Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, gay Americans, Muslim Americans, immigrant Americans, poor Americans, Native Americans, disenfranchised throw-away Americans, almost all those who have not been living in ‘privileged’ white America would probably disagree.
Racism, bigotry, intolerance, hatred will not disappear with legislative work, more laws and Constitutional Amendments, additional streets named after black people, Pride parades on our streets, and conciliatory memes on social media. Protesters of differing skin tone marching with linked arms carrying meaningful signs are a start, but when America finally reckons with the malignancy which has been festering in its heart, only then can healing begin. It begins when each of us looks deep into the heart which directs our lives, takes an inventory, does a housecleaning, and strives to treat others the way he wants to be treated. Very simple Bible School stuff – the Golden Rule.
That healing will see communities fostering tolerance and inclusiveness, churches welcoming all neighbors, job and educational opportunities available to all, local governments working for every citizen, each man caring about the welfare of his fellow man.
There are those, mostly unaffected by racism or hatred, who want to maintain things as they have been for many generations. There are those who pray every day for equality and opportunity for all. There are those who don’t really care. And, of course, there are those sitting around the campfire singing kumbaya thinking, “what do we have to do to placate the groups who have been abused? What do we have to give them?”
It can’t continue this way. America has to fix its heart problem.
American preachers, if they claim Christianity, must begin to preach what the Gospels teach – love and brotherhood, the community of mankind, the ministry of Jesus. If the preacher-man’s message is not one of inclusiveness, love and service to all of Creation, if he is spreading the gospel of merited affluence, the gospel of exclusive white rights to eternity, then that preacher is spewing lies from his pulpit.
American governments – national, state, and local – must abide by the Constitutions and laws which they have sworn to uphold. Those laws promise equal justice and equal rights to every American. No man is more equal or more privileged than another. No man is less protected or less entitled. Sadly, the truth of our American justice system begs to differ. We must change that.
American social-media (ah yes, the media screens) must be held accountable, without encouraging censorship, for the ideas, thoughts, and words that are allowed for public consumption. Is it too difficult to believe that the colonial framers had never imagined the vicious vitriol and lies that would someday claim protection under the 1st Amendment? We must become responsible for self-policing what we allow into our heads and what we accept as truth.
American teachers, dedicated to a difficult and thankless job, must be the most open-minded of all of us – they are expanding our children’s minds to the world of new ideas and concepts. Our willingness to fund excellence in education says much about who we want to be as a society.
American parents, you are wonderful, but from whom did I learn the n-word? When did I begin to believe that 12 year-old me was somehow superior to the migrant laborers who worked the fields in the summer? Who taught me the words to ridicule the lone Jewish boy in my school? Parents, your children are all ears and eyes. They are listening and watching and then replicating. What do you truly want them to learn from you? Are your prejudices and fears being passed on to the next generation?
HEART WORK. We all have a lot of heart work to do. Are you willing? Am I? Our country is depending on all of us getting this right. No more mushy kumbaya moments.