Racism must broken down into its components if we are to synthesize a vaccine. I believe the three elements or heads of racism may be guilt combined with bigotry then mixed with disgust.
Guilt enters when a commonly compassionate person knows he has treated a fellow human being poorly. Guilt can extend through one’s emotions when one sees his blessings of health, wealth, position or the now dangerous word privilege loft high above those of others. Guilt can reach its end with us the way a dead end street does. That is, there is no going on, so the only way to get anywhere is to retrace one’s path, so reliving the pangs of guilt with every bump in the road.
Bigotry, or prejudice, occurs when one lumps together all of them. White society is chastened when its populace dismisses all other races as a giant glob of persons to be ignored unless and until they become unseemly; what used to be called “Uppity.” Whites who invited other ethnicities to rise above their prior station, sometimes by doing no more than being polite to blacks or browns, or granting them an equal place on the sidewalk, were judged more harshly than the other racial groups.
And the accommodating Whites were certainly lumped together with all of them. Descent into the persecuted caste came without a ladder. Once you were there you would have to dig your way out, without expectation of a helping hand from above.
Bigotry may indeed be not much more than lumping a racial group or socio-economic group together as all of one piece and then placing that lump out of sight for so long as we may, only to look on the glob again when it starts to throb.
We are admonished by the woke to escape our bigotry by seeing persons as individuals rather than lumping them all together. The woke give us this admonishment through clenched teeth, if at all, while gathering all the police in our nation into one pack of wild dogs, and insisting that nine to twenty attacks on certain racial groups prove all police are evil and all should be defunded and disbanded.
Apparently, hypocrisy comes hard upon whichever group gains the spotlight, there to announce its once and former sufferings. All America is evil but only White Americans and in particular, White Americans who wear blue uniforms. Nine instances of police brutality, all subject to the punishment of law, are laid not at the feet of the perpetrators but are refashioned into a bloody covering and held over the heads of 333,000,000 people.
The third head of the near hydra monster racism is disgust. A lesser word, like disdain, is too polite for this vulgarized culture. Disgust, the kind of sneer you wear when you go about as if smelling something bad, is the more accurate word.
We are disgusted with one another. We are not entered into a conversation, as some seem to think, as if the burned out stores and ruined lives of thousands of innocent sufferers can be ameliorated by taking down another statue to our shared history.
We are disgusted with one another. This is not a conversation. What we are watching is a dangerous confrontation resulting in a capitulation by one group, leading to yet another confrontation.
We went through this once before, you know, in the 60’s. Then we had the Black Panthers, the SDS and the Weather Underground. We also had the aggravation of an undeclared war in Vietnam (one recalls the huge marches against the war and how puny they became as soon as the military draft ended). America during that time heard some of its citizens scream “Burn, Baby, Burn.”
We also had a shaky Republican President, Mr. Nixon, who was really a Centrist. He started the EPA, promoted busing, ended conscription, pulled out of Vietnam and opened detente with Red China. He also managed to get himself forced from office early in his second term.
You may recall, if you are old enough, the utter weakness of the Democrats. They put up hilarious candidates; Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, poor Walter Mondale and then Dukakis. The 1968 ‘Democratic Convention in Chicago is not as well remembered as Watergate, but it was a week of deadly riots in the streets of the Windy City, mostly led by White college students who did not want to fight in Vietnam but who felt no real pangs fighting their older brothers, the police, in city streets.
This is not new. An old preacher once told me, “The Devil doesn’t need any new tricks. He does very well with his old ones.’
We have seen this before, but that is no reason to brush off the misery of today as inconsequential. Remember we came out of the other one in the sixties by means of a moderate spiritual revival called the JESUS movement. I am a preacher today because of the JESUS generation.
Do you see a revival coming? Really? During the Quarantine churches we’re closed while liquor stores were kept open. Preachers were jailed while rioters got participation ribbons. Some took over six city blocks in a major city and held it for five weeks, until they started to kill each other.
We need to stop hating on each other. I do not feel you owe my anything but common respect, brother and I feel no need to offer you anything other. Enough is getting to be enough.