3/21/2008

The Big Uneasy

It’s Good Friday. Easter and spring are upon us. I want to think of joy and faith and renewal.

Racism (and sexism) keep getting in the way.

Over at Papamoka Straight Talk, he, too, is wondering why such prejudices exist. Read his post: “Obama on Racial Tension in America,” LINK

You always write from your heart, Papamaoka, and that’s the essential quality of good writing which draws me to your blog.

I admit I am one of those persons made uncomfortable when racial tensions reach a boiling point in America. I have believed, naïvely I suppose, that things had gotten better.

That belief was jarred when the scab on this festering condition was knocked off - and should have gained a national forum - with the racial and class injustices in the aftermath of Katrina.

In an ironic twist, the person who raised the most hell, in Katrina’s wake, about race and class injustice in New Orleans was himself a victim in this struggle: Don Imus, a man I greatly admire. I believe to this day that Imus is not a racist and might have been a force in airing this issue if he himself had not uttered three words.

Yes, words matter. The very persons who now defend Obama’s allegiance to his pastor are those “friends” of Imus who turned their backs on him when he needed them most. Imus’ words of unintended consequence cannot compare with those of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Or, for that matter, those of McCain endorsers John Hagee and Rod Parsley.

On a very personal level, my discomfort when racial tension arises comes from its intrusion into my own life. In my life there are no racial tensions. I am not in a “racial stalemate:” I do not hesitate to let othrs know if their prejudices offend me.

I have lived my life believing all “are precious in His sight.”

Early on, there were simple lessons, other than those from my parents and my church:

· A little song which goes, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
· The simple words of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
· Sitting in a Saturday matinee with my kid brother and watcheing the 1951 movie “The Well” with Harry Morgan. Available on video and DVD, the movie is described by Yahoo!: “An incisive study of crowd psychology, focusing on the effects of the townsfolk when a black child gets lodged in a deep well. Academy Award Nominations: Best Story and Screenplay and Best Film Editing.”

For almost 23 years I have lived in a large apartment complex where the majority of my neighbors and friends, some of whom have remained my friends after moving on, has been black. Sure, there have been problem neighbors, white and black, and distancing myself from them was based on their conduct.

So, yes, to be frank, it makes me nervous, it makes me uncomfortable to be drawn into a larger world where hatred and prejudice exist. I was drawn into that world as I sat comfortably in my living room for five days watching my fellow Americans in New Orleans suffer in unspeakable ways while our federal government did nothing.

And, I am drawn into it when I feel the hatred in the heart of the Rev. Wright. I agree that, essentially, some of his statements are based in fact, but many are nothing more than vitriolic reverse racism against his fellow Americans.

Arguments about all the good Wright has done fall on deaf ears. Imus proved that.

Many have asked me why I bother to monitor Fox News and other outlets of right-wing propaganda. Well, read “The Art of War.” The issue of whether Barack Obama should distance himself from his mentor is not going away. The media will not let it. It is, after all, tantamount to the very dialogue Sen. Obama has called for.

How this dialogue will affect the Democratic nomination and, more importantly, the general election in November, remains to be seen.

Boy, talk about naïve, when a womn and a black man entered this presidential race, I didn’t see this coming.

Have I distanced myself from certain persons in my own life? Tp be sure, Such choices were based on individual evaluations of personal conduct. That’s a lesson our mothers taught us.

The long-needed national forum is apparently upon us.

In the meantime, I want my secure, harmonious and peaceful little world to remain intact. It is a world where my closest friends are color-blind and do not give thought to the color of each other’s skin. If that makes me selfish, sobeit.

Papamoka and I share a common quandary: why prejudice exists in the first place.

11 comments:

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Muslims Against Sharia call on Senators McCain and Obama to cut all ties with their racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic supporters.

McCain: http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/03/mccains-spiritual-guide-destroy-islam.html
Obama: http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/03/racist-congregation-cheering-racist.html

Papamoka said...

Thank you so much my friend for not just linking to my post but eloquently stating a clear and might I say a very well written point of view.

Personally, I find the whole situation disheartening and alarming. Like you, I too had thought we as a people have grown but maybe that isn't entirely true? Great post BJ!!!

Frodo said...

Once again, Frodo begins with something outrageous. The segregation we discuss is the most natural of human behaviors. Acknowledge, in your mind, that since the "walking monkeys" recognized that they could not survive alone, they had to gather in groups. In groups, the "walking monkeys" were able to protect each other, provide for each other, and interact with each other. Soon, the "walking monkeys" came into contact with the characters living in the next cave, and you know what? They had the "audacity" to call themselves the "running monkeys," and they thought that theirs was the best cave.

Frodo thinks he has made his point. Frodo is not irritated with anyone, but he does get irritated when all of a sudden we arrogantly believe that we are facing something unique. In truth, the struggle between the various "caves" of humanity is the story of humanity itself. These are not new problems.

So? (as Vice President Cheney would say) What is Frodo's comment about our current set of circumstances between the caverns of humanity? Frodo notes that the "monkeys" are now sophisticated enough, after 25,000 or so years, to have developed rationale for why they won't vote for a "monkey" from another cave. (Psst, you know the "running monkeys" stand up and wave their hands while they're in church. No, well how uncivilized is that)

Nothing is going to change the proclivity of human beings to gather together in groups. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fact that some of us belong to some groups, and others belong to other groups. Our task, whether under the aegis of our good friend on this blog, or otherwise in our daily lives, is to celebrate our differences.

"I just want to celebrate another day of living. . ."

And so Frodo, this time, concludes with a song.

Contributions may be placed in the little round plate as you leave the vestry.

Eowyn said...

I had thought of Obama as having a whole different level of involvement with politics and the Black community.

That is not to say that I expected him to be "above" understanding the feelings or problems voiced in his church by people that are typical throughout the land. What I expected was that, in running for president, he'd be able to put himself on another level. And concern himself with problems of the nation to be faced as president. And race divisiveness is not number one there. Important, as it has been all my years on earth, but there are other problems. Too. I think he was a candidate--and is a candidate--that was above the race debate.

I heard a lot of chatter at work today--discord over the situation. And I guess I'd have to say the bottom line is that people want to see a president who has time to deal with national problems extending beyond the racial problems they've been hearing about for decades. A fear was created by the sniper fire that a Black man would concern himself with Black discord and obscure the problems facing the country.

I'm sad that the spotlight had to be turned on that situation. It was like political sniper fire. So, now he loses ground there. It was sleazy politcal tactics, and that is what many of us will NEVER forget.

B.J. said...

Frodo and Eowyn: Never assume that because someone is supporting Hillary Clinton or John McCain, it is done out of racial prejudice. Look beyond your support for Obama for a minute and share with us your own feelings about dealing with the problem of prejudices in others.

I guess I failed to make the point that I do not want to have to deal with hatred which exists in the hearts of others. I can listen to the maniacal ramblings of a Charles Manson and have no idea how his mind got that way or what it would take to prevent such madness in the first place. I guess what I’m trying to say is: because I do not understand “what evil lurks in the hearts of men,” I am not equipped to deal with it on a personal basis, and, therefore, do not believe it is my place to annihilate it.

Or, maybe I’m just saying I feel secure in my world, and I do not care to step over into a world where people somehow believe they are the “chosen” and better than others of their species. Nor do I want their harbored prejudices stepping into mine.

Let me tell you a little story: when I went to vote in the South Carolina primary, my good friend, I’ll call him John, an African-American, cast my vote for me. When I told the two white female poll workers I could not see and John was going to assist me, they ran over and flanked John, watching him cast my vote. One asked, “Who do you want him to vote for?” I said, “Hillary Clinton.” She then addressed John saying, “She wants you to vote for Hillary Clinton.” I didn’t need this intercession, and stated, “John is my friend; I would trust him with my life,” to which she replied, “Well, we just can’t be too careful in THIS election.” It didn’t take a Rhodes scholar to get her message, and I was embarrassed that John was put through such innuendo. The two women had no business whatsoever intervening in a situation of mutal trust. Even in its most subtle form, discrimination can be off-putting. BJ

Frodo Redux said...

Whoa, Frodo thinks Merry missed the turn on his directions to Easter Sunday. Frodo was not talking about Obama, he was talking about how people talk about other people. Even Frodo, in all his wisdom, has a bias or two. Frodo will never, ever, for any reason, or under any circumstance ever assume that anyone borne in, raised in, living in, or buried in, Texas, is worth a warm bucket of spit. Read again what he said, and please deposit a nickel in the plate on your way out the door, and tell the Minister that it is "for Frodo."

Eowyn said...

Two nickels, Merry! I was trying to say, poorly I guess, that I was disappointed in the politcal process to see him have to stop everything and explain these things. Sorry that he was baited and the public had to be subjected to the whole racial thing rising again. It creates fear and mistrust and tension that should not be there. It's a political ploy. It works.

And I was disappointed to learn that he was involved with people like his pastor. Though I have to admit that I cannot nearly be defined by the thoughts or politics of each person I know. They vary enormously, as does the reason I know each one.

I am not really an Obama supporter, though I am hoping he shows himself to be capable. I like the tone, the manner, and I think it will show itself to have dignity which we need right now.

The politics is getting dirtier. Who wouldn't have expected it?

B.J. said...

Merry is a burr under the hobbit’s saddle sometimes. Keeps him on his furry toes. Here’s a penny for your two cents, LOL.

B.J. said...

Eowyn! I was not overlooking you. Just didn’t open your emailed comment until after I responded to Fro-dee-oh-do! Yep, this nation could use a big old whopping dab of DIGNITY after “Cornpone’s Disaster.” And, thanks, Papamoka, for your words! “Muslims Against Sharia”??? Don’t have a clue.

Jan - a little behind (pun) said...

Jan is running behind on catching up on blogs. I share the views of papamoka and BJ concerning each of us being Americans. When Jan was five and saw her first dark skinned person, she thought he had polished himself with brown shoe polish and ask her Dad why he did that.

Her Dad explained to her that God made people in different colors and that God loved everyone equally. She never forgot that lesson.Like BJ, Jan was taught the song "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world..." Jan was also reared on the Golden Rule.

Jan grew up with black children in our school. We shared the same drinking fountain, bathroom, lunch room, class rooms, playground, etc. We had no problems with that.

Prejudice and hate are learned behaviors that can be unlearned and replaced with unity of purpose. We can be open minded and learn from each other regardless of our diversities. No two of us have had the same exact experiences in life. We have information and experiences to share with each other.

Jan has heard angry white pstors just as vitrolic as Rev. Wright about other races of people. For example, in NC one preacher she heard several times would preach a hell-fire and brimstone sersoms of having to emulate the teachings of Christ.

He would leave the church, done his white robe and hood and go to his KKK meeting. Jan did not find that to be very Christ like. She was adamantly turned against all religions after several incidents like this in various churches. Black people were not even allowed to work in the menial factories in the South.

Jan's Unity Churchs welcomes and accepts everyone, regardless of race, creed, religious and/or sexual orientation. Everyone is accepted just as they are and in whatever stage of spiritual development they occupy. That is truly unity of our diversity. We have more in commen as human beings than we have differences.

One last note concerning the primary elections. Florida had the least flawed vote. Everyone's name was on the ballot with no campaigning, and no candidate had a
monetary advantage over another. And now they want to do all they can to disenfranchise the FL voters. What kind of democracy is that?

The sound you hear is Jan sliding her soap box and/or podium back in its corner. Will accept a group of rational, open minded, diverse races in lieu of monetary gain. Come, let us reason together.

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