Saturday, July 27, 2013
Healing the racial divide
I've always been the type of person that could see the best in people. Sometimes, I couldn't help but see the worse in them...especially when they make it easy to see. I don't know where or when I adopted the ideology that all people were created equal and that there was no need for racial hatred or bigotry. A part of me believes that this was taught to me by my mother. Another part of me believes that this was something that I just adopted into my persona because the idea simply worked for me.
Every few years, like clockwork, you can anticipate that a situation will come to light that will have many people standing beside water coolers across the country talking; perhaps taking a stance on how they feel as either African American or European American people. And the one thing that I come away with each and every time is that the racial divide is at times so deep and entrenched in American culture, I seriously doubt if it can ever be truly eradicated.
Perhaps one thing that can lead towards healing the divide that runs so deep in our society is to understand what it's like to be a part of the race that you don't understand. Of course, it may help if you have the desire to truly want to understand what it really feels like to be black or white in America today as well as what it was like to exist in either race years ago. There's a saying that in order to know where you are going, you have to understand where you came from. It's knowing your history inside and out that will keep you from making the same mistakes that others before you have made.
Many people understand the history of blacks and whites without comprehending the emotional aspect of how it is for anyone that falls outside of their scope of living. Being black didn't just mean that you used to live in the ghetto or was regarded as a second class citizen just like being white didn't translate to being regarded as a part of an affluent group of people, although it really depends on who you speak to.
The history of Black America as we see it is steeped in repression, subjugation and discrimination. This is not distorting reality; it is a fact. As a result, you have many African Americans that have been directly or indirectly impacted by these realities that still occur within our society although not as overt as it did just 30 years ago. Some people would want to put the ugliness of that history in the past and leave it there with the reasoning that we can't heal or move forward until that very thing has been done. But the problem with that thought process is that the history has not been addressed. Dismissing it doesn't erase the pain that is still present in the hearts of many African Americans. We feel that pain in everything that we do...from finding a job, to finding suitable housing to having equal opportunities to excel in the workplace.
On the other side of the coin are the liberal Americans who did not go through the darker sections of the history of this country. They believe that everything is great and don't understand why blacks are holding onto past injustices. After all, strides have been made. Attitudes have changed. There are more African Americans appearing in boardrooms across the country and there is no lack of black images flooding our televisions, magazines and newspapers. To those liberal people, we may appear ungrateful for the opportunities that are afforded us now that wasn't available to our mothers and fathers. And those same liberals may be tired of hearing about the injustices that have been inflicted on African Americans in the past.
Read this article in its entirety on CNN iREPORTS: