This being the last week of this year’s Black History Month, a fact likely missed by 99% of white Americans (and likely most Latinos and Asians and First Peoples), I wish to make a brief statement on the “situation” of race in these States.
May I first offer a quote from one of the greatest writers of all history, James Baldwin?
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
The civil war that we are in right now (and yes it is a civil, not-so-civil, war), the war that never ended really at Appomattox, is slowly draining the dreams of millions of Americans -black and white and all others- and like Climate Change, we cannot just pretend that it does not exist. We must face it. We must face the root causes of it, and attempt collective understanding of this morass.
As a white man in America, who grew up in a “white world” until the age of 18, and who later went on to live among mostly black Americans until the present day, for over fifty years now, I feel very well qualified to repeat James statement, above. All I have to do is watch the news feeds, watch the man holding the position of POTUS and hear and see the vile attitudes and behaviors of so many on the extreme right, to clearly comprehend that they must face their hate, and we who expound love and sharing and unity are wholly obliged to help them see the non-truth of their Weltanschauung.
All we can do on the left is hold ourselves to the arc of moral justice admonitions, check ourselves, but be firm in reaching out to the right with love and resilience of purpose. We must push our institutions, our corporations and businesses, our churches and organizations, to look at FACTS, and stop reverse-engineering realities to justify distortions of history and of other human being who happen to not be of the same color.
There are many white people, especially men, who at one time were skinhead racists or “run of the mill” bigots, who have found the power in their heart to change, so they can be fully human being, and experience the beauty of their ultimate divine purpose. It can be done, but only by having the courage to sit down one on one, or starting in small groups of black and white and all other Americans, to listen and hear one another’s pained and painful views. Hiding behind Tweets and Comments is only the sign of someone who is afraid to put his or her skin in view behind those words. So many cowards.
We must all, face the music.