On The Twelfth Day of Equality
The haters gave to me…
“The Confederate flag isn’t a symbol of racism, it’s a banner of pride in our heritage.”
Maybe so, but what if Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was governor of California, decided to fly the Nazi flag on the State Capitol grounds as a way of expressing pride in his heritage? After all, his father was a Nazi….
And these same “proud Southerners” have a problem with people in Texas flying the Mexican flag. But after all, Texas was a part of Mexico long before it became first an independent republic, then a Union state, a Confederate state, and a Union state once more. And besides, some of the families flying the Mexican flag have been in Texas far longer than most of the rest of the population of Texas.
Speaking of Texas, the latest revision of that state’s history—and which will be taught in their schools—makes no mention of slavery or the Ku Klux Klan.
Is There a Point to All This, or Am I Just Ranting?
There is most definitely a point and it is that we are in the midst of tremendous social change in the United States. And while social (or cultural, if you prefer that term) change is usually slow, there does come a time when certain forces come together and culminate in one, big explodey BOOM!
And isn’t that what’s been happening for the past couple of weeks in the United States? First, we had the decision—some would say the inevitable decisions—by the Supreme Court of the United States that same-sex marriages are, in fact, protected by the Constitution. Then we had the tremendous push-back against the display of the Confederate battle flag as a result of yet another white supremacist committing yet another murder (in this case, murders) in yet another African-American church in the South. And just yesterday I read that the City of New York was ordered to pay nearly $6 million to the family of yet another Black man killed by the police—this time because they used an illegal choke-hold to restrain him, despite him telling them that he couldn’t breathe. And this time, the coroner had no trouble ruling his death a homicide.
How many times have you heard—or even said yourself—that “we fear what we don’t understand”? Do you have even a basic understanding how hatred grows out of not only ignorance but fear? And make no mistake: I’m not using the word “ignorance” as an epithet or to dismiss people as being stupid. Far from it. There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. As someone once told me, “Ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever.” My own view of the difference between them is that ignorance comes from a lack of education or experience, where as stupidity is deliberate and a conscious choice.
As an example, take the fact that there are still people who believe that the Earth is flat. This, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Compare that to the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon jungle who have had very limited contact with the outside world. If they don’t know that the Earth is round (and I’m not saying they don’t; after all, the ancient Greeks knew that fact), I would put that down to ignorance rather than stupidity.
So here we sit at the junction of progress and regress, of light and darkness, of knowledge and ignorance. Where we go from here, and how long it will take, is a combination of those of us who choose to take positive action as well as the dying off of older minds who still cling to the lies and hate.
As for me, I choose positive action.
Thanks for reading,