By April Dye, Contributor, USDR
We have come so far as a nation and to see how many steps back we have taken is really devastating and it really has a lot to do with manipulation and choosing to see the arguments of the “other side” as irrelevant.
Can we admit that there are no blacks – living today – who have ever been slaves and there are no whites – living today – who have ever been slave owners? Can we also admit that blacks were not the only slaves in American and whites were not the only slave owners in America?
Now let us make this assertion – the only difference between a black person and a white person is skin color. Inside we all have the same organs (more or less) and the same genetic make-up (more or less).
We all want to live long, healthy, happy lives. We all want to live in a world where there is no hate, no discrimination, no jealousy, no superiority and no violence. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Unfortunately, we will not get to see that until Jesus returns. So right now, today, we need to see and try and find a way to get along and to look at each other as equals – human beings trying to make it in this sinful world.
Unfortunately, our history has been a hard pill to swallow, in some instances. But America is not the only country whose past is littered with ugliness. Since the beginning of time, in some form or fashion there has been people who have been slaves to another – even today. But instead of focusing on these atrocities from our past, let us try to focus on the greatness of what we have overcome.
Are some people at more of a disadvantage than others – yes. We should be able to admit that this is the case with every race. Even statistics show there are more white people on Medicaid than others.
Are there some cities who are more impoverished than others – yes. Are there some cities whose education system is horrendous – yes. Are there some cities who have more violence than others – yes.
So let us ask the question, why?
First I think are the preconceived ideas we have about each other. Some white people look at blacks as instigators of violence and criminals and some black people look at whites as privileged and bigots.
For the most part, I believe these are wrong. Are there some, yes, but I think this is the minority not the majority.
Some black people see white people as holding them back and some white people see black people as holding themselves back.
I believe the media and Hollywood have a lot to do with these misconceptions. Chaos and drama bring ratings to news channels and Hollywood. They focus on the differences, they focus on the hate, they focus on the violence, they focus on the prejudice. The news or media put their focus on blacks getting persecuted while whites get away with crimes. However, they don’t show every crime and every sentence. So, while they will bring up a case where a white guy did the same crime as a black guy but got off or had a lesser sentence, they don’t show the case of a white guy getting the same treatment and a black guy getting off. You might hear a case about a black guy doing time or being executed for a crime he didn’t commit but they don’t show the case that is identical but with a white guy as the victim.
Why would they do that? Viewership; viewership equals ratings and ratings equal money.
What do news channels do? They go to the towns, they ask questions, they stir up the controversy and help add fuel to the fire. We have seen this way too often and innocent people and business sometimes get destroyed.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been horrible when it comes to poverty and education especially in the minority communities. They blame each other for policies and while one keeps them down by throwing money at the problem the other talks about what needs to be done but doesn’t ever start the process whether by choice or opposition – neither is getting it done.
This is really, a vicious cycle – but it can be broken – if both sides can come together. We need to hit the reset button and start with clear ideas and clean slates.
It really is like the egg and the chicken situation. Let me explain, due to racism from previous generations (when segregation was going on) some black parents have raised their children with the idea that cops will stop you because you are black and white people will always be suspicious of you. So, growing up they believed they are victims and anytime a cop stops them it’s because they are black – even when it is legitimate. So, some feel they need to defend themselves and some turn to violence. Now this is not in all cases, but it is there – we need to look at it honestly. So, because of these types of situations cops have become more cautious when stopping black people and unfortunately sometimes people have died which continues the cycle of distrust and aggression on both sides – both, more often than not, due to self-preservation. This is not to say there is not incidents where cops have used excessive force unnecessarily. Nor does it say that every person killed did not provoke the situation. And these situations in turn make some black people even more combative at police and police more apprehensive and anxious when dealing with blacks. Which causes anger on both sides which leads to more violence … and again, it is a vicious cycle and it needs to stop.
We are the only ones that can do that. We, human beings need to look at each other as individuals who have nothing to do with the history of slavery and most with segregation. We should not negate someone else’s opinion because you feel they cannot understand your situation because of what skin color they are or where they come from.
We cannot say this country is truly oppressive when you look at other countries and see true oppression and continued slavery. We cannot say there is true oppression when we have a black president (elected twice by a significant percentage of blacks as well as whites). When we have actors, musicians, artists, athletes, judges, lawyers, senators, congressman, bankers and business owners who are black.
I think we all, every race, need to get the chips off our shoulders. We need to quit looking at each other as the enemy. We need to quit finding reasons to believe we are victims. There are good people in every race. There are bad people in every race. There are bigots in every race and there are loving people in every race.
We need to stand up to the media, to the news and to politicians who want to pit us against each other. We need to do things that can bring those in lower income communities out of dependence on government and get them jobs that can benefit their families and the communities. We need to look to each other to do that. We need to stand up in our communities and say enough to drugs, enough to breaking the law, enough to gangs. We need to support each other. We need to quit fighting each other. We need to make all neighborhoods and schools safe. We need to help ourselves and let others help us as well.
The devil is winning and it isn’t because he is bigger and badder, it is because we are letting him. When we see ourselves as winners, when we help each other, when we comfort each other, when we see each other as equals, we can win the war on hate, poverty and prejudice.
We have come so far – let us not go back. Let us move forward. The first and best way to do that is within ourselves. Look at others as equal. Look at each other as people with common problems/different situations but with problems none the less. Don’t assume how people look at you. Don’t assume that someone else can’t understand, or won’t want to understand.
The good thing about government is that it needs us. Unfortunately, it has made us believe that we need it. Government assistance was designed to be a helping hand but has become a lifestyle due to the regulations it puts on getting help and then trying to get off. It incentivizes you to stay on it and penalizes you to get off. And the cycle begins.
We all need to stop voting party or against another person and vote principles. Look to people who want to help you not give you a hand out. Yes, it sounds good – but nothing is free. Both sides have lied to us and hurt us. We need to vote for people who aren’t looking to make a career out of government but that use government to help its citizens. We need to quit looking for people who think we serve them and look to people who know they serve us and we need to hold them accountable when they don’t.
Both sides of the voting block have let ourselves be run over by people who say they will do something but don’t. Both sides say they know what is best for us but WE know what is best for US. Once we the people begin to stand up and decide that we are going to love each other, that we are going to help each other, that no one is better than the other then we can look at ourselves as victors instead of victims.
When I am out in my community I don’t see hate – I am a watcher – and I am trying to see truth in actions and words. I see all colors, religions and classes speaking to each other, helping each other, working together, talking and laughing with each other. I have a very diverse family when it comes to race as I do when it comes to my friends. When I look at people I don’t see color – I see souls, I see people just like me with hopes and dreams who just want to live happy, healthy lives.
We are a nation of people from all over the world. Some were born here, some came to seek new land, some ancestors brought over by slave traders, some are refugees seeking freedom from oppression. We are the light shining on the hill. We need to act like it. We are blessed. We need to act like it. People died so that we could succeed. We need to do that.
My heart aches at the senseless hate and violence. My heart aches at the fuel that is added to the fires by media, entertainment and politics. We need to quit letting people divide us. If you see your neighbor say hello. When you see someone in need help them. If you see injustice speak out. If you see a cop don’t be worried – say hello. We need to all be better at going into each other’s communities and seeing how the other side lives.
I am in no way trying to say that I have all the answers but I do try and empathize with all people. I do not know what it is like to be black and so I can’t claim to be an expert nor would I believe is any black person as each person would have their own experiences good and bad as a black person. I am white and I still don’t think I can be considered an expert as each person would have their own experiences good and bad as a white person. I do know that a black person does not know what it is like to be white nor does a black person knows what it is like to be white. So, for me to claim little discrimination exists for blacks would be the same for a black person to claim to know that a white person is privileged. It is all personal perspective.
There are blacks who have lived privileged lives and have good jobs and families just as there are whites who have lived privileged lives and have good jobs and families. There are also blacks who have lived in poverty and had hard lives and broken families just as there are whites who have lived in poverty and had hard lives and broken families.
Just because you’re black doesn’t make you a criminal and just because you’re white doesn’t make you privileged. We are all just people trying to live our lives, feed our families and trying to find happiness.
This could be said of all communities, races and religions. We are all just people trying to live our lives, feed our families and trying to find happiness.
We live in a broken world and it will not be perfect but we should at least try. We are not a perfect people but we should at least try. We do not live in a perfect country but we should at least try and it is better than any other and we can make it better if we at least try.
I saw this quote and thought it was a good foundation to begin our reset:
“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate; it belongs to you.” Josh Shipp
The motto I have been following for most of my adult life has been “God is not going to judge me on how other people treat me but I how I respond to how other people treat me.”
So, let’s each take the first step and be the change we want to see.
Be blessed and know that you are loved.