There was a time when I thought that our country could get past all the hatred and fearmongering that has enveloped us in its deadly grip. I say deadly because it unfortunately, has come to that. Mass shootings are the norm, not the exception. 1 in 4 Jewish people have been the victims of hate crimes. Young black men are still being executed by a police force that has taken an oath to protect and serve. Women, who up to a little less than a year ago had reproductive rights and control over their own bodies are now in a situation where they don’t. The LGBTQI+ communities are under siege because certain politicians believe that it is more expedient to persecute this group of people rather than create useful policies that will help the average American citizen. Refugees that seek asylum in this country are demonized as people that are rife with diseases, are criminals, or are attempting to replace the average white American.
We have forgotten what it is like to be American. We look in all areas of life hoping to find an enemy where oftentimes, one doesn’t exist. Political parties who don’t agree on their agendas have taken the extra step in hatred by creating a false narrative of accusations citing pedophilia when there is nothing to support their allegations.
Oftentimes, just being accused of such a heinous act is enough to warrant guilt and does not need to be substantiated. Our once great nation has descended into chaos where gun violence is commonplace, and yet the answer to this national epidemic is to flood our streets with more weapons designed to kill people and not hunt.
We are a nation where a minority is so fearful of anyone or anything that doesn’t look like them that they feel the need to extend the barrel of a gun instead of a hand in friendship.
This is our norm. This is our truth, as painful as it may seem. We have forgotten how to love and feel empathy for our fellow man. We revel in hatred and fear because this is our place of comfort. And what is worse is that half of our elected officials have decided that it is more advantageous to stir the pot of fear, traffic in conspiracy theories and tell lies that a segment of our population wants to hear.
We want to believe what we hear, not because we understand it to be true…we just need to take in a viewpoint that supports our irrational belief that anyone that doesn’t look, love, worship or believe like us must be the enemy.
It is unfortunate that a small segment of our population needs to have someone to blame for their shortcomings. Something must be someone else’s fault.
I am not your enemy. I simply don’t believe what you believe. And last that I heard, it is my constitutional right to believe what I believe to be right. I don’t want to harm anyone, nor do I wish to replace you. I don’t believe that black history should be eliminated, and neither should you…because at the end of the day, history does not know race or ethnicity. It either is or it isn’t. History is not something that should be whitewashed or altered to support a narrative that people of color have not endured hardships perpetuated by another race of people. Facts are facts. And simply because you don’t like those facts doesn’t make it any less true.
There was a time that I believed that we could come together as a nation and rejoice in the fact that we have the privilege of living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. I used to believe this even though the odds have always been stacked against people of color.
Those are the facts.
From the very inception of slavery to Jim Crow laws, to Mass Incarceration to Recidivism…these are the odds that people of color, especially black men, have faced from the very beginning. We have always been deemed a threat in one way or another, whether it be in the form of the cause of perceived violence, theft, addiction, and abuse. We have news reporting agencies pushing a perception that black men are a threat to society when the reality is that only a portion of men of color fall into that category.
The reality is that the power structure in this country is held predominately by white, Christian males and if you fall short of that, you are somehow the cause of everything that is wrong in this nation.
We have gone from being a country where immigrants are demonized by people who may themselves be only one or two generations away from being immigrants themselves.
Still, I am not your enemy.
I have no desire to take anything from you. There is no reason to fear me. I want to live my life in peace.
We all know that we have a high peak to climb if we are to become the land of diversity and inclusion. White people are not being replaced. White people will always exist. You can never be erased.
Maybe there is a fear that if you are not the majority, what was done to people of color will somehow be inflicted upon you.
That is not the case.
We simply want to live in peace and prosper.
And if that is too difficult to understand, we may be in for an even steeper mountain to climb.
~ J.L. Whitehead