If you want change but refuse to be a part of it…it’s time to start talking. It’s time to start talking or more truthfully it’s time to shut the hell up and stop getting in the way of those who do want fairness, equality, justice, and peace. So far I’ve addressed sexism, democracy, marital bliss, weight gain, feminism, friendships; now I’m taking aim at something which I consider to be the unspoken mar on our society.
I asked multiple people I know how this picture made them feel. I tried to go across the board to get opinions from every walk of life. My curiousity is not to incite some sort of issue, my curiousity and hope is to illuminate something that runs so deep in our country that I think sometimes we are quite ignorant of it. We talk and talk and talk about it but somehow always seems to be diminished by words like, thug, projects, ghetto, black on black crime statistics, prison statistics, hoodie….
Once again….writing on a board. God bless America…Land that I love. What does this evoke? I can tell you it is from a Mom & Pop establishment who have ties to war heroes and blue collar America. I know them and I respect them. They harken back to a time when many people felt this way. We are at a crossroad in this country. I realize this is a topic people would not like to face but face it we must. So here’s a cross sample of the responses:
“I don’t believe in God”
“If Hillary gets in….then not anymore”
“Home of the free and land of the brave”
“That I feel the same way……but all the hate in our country right now makes me sad for our country”
” ‘Land that I love’ that doesn’t love me back because I’m not white / disheartened / If you don’t like it…just go back to ___________” (excerpts from one of the most honest and wonderful and painful conversations I’ve ever had about race – Thank you – you know who you are and I love you for your insight and clarity and how absolutely brave and beautiful you are)
“This country can’t be the land that I love until it loves me…all of me…”
“Sure……as long as you’re white”
How many have chimed in the All Lives Matter as a knee jerk reaction to feeling slighted; as if the importance of your life were somehow diminished because the focus of value and worth was not on you. They were angry right? How dare someone put their lives above yours? Imagine growing up with that. Imagine feeling every day that you are somehow less than a worthy participant of society. Could you handle it generation after generation after generation?
If I’m raising hackles up; it’s kind of what I do. Sorry/not sorry.
I’m not saying anyone who went straight to ALM is a racist. I distinctly remember having that reaction the first time I heard it. Whether or not I spoke out about it, I honestly don’t recall. I may have. I’m an outspoken twit. I think what we should all take away is the impact of the dismissal whether intended or not.
I grew up proudly singing the words…land that I love. I still know every lyric. But I also grew up believing that the Pilgrims and the Indians broke bread and lived happily ever after. Something didn’t translate into why there were no Indians in my school or town or why the only one I saw on television was one alone on a horse crying over litter and not the glaring fact that my forefathers drove him from his home. Where were they? Why did my father’s lips tighten to a grim thin line whenever I would bring what I learned about Christopher Colombus before he would paste the smile back on his face because he didn’t want to rob me of that sense of national pride I felt. I was young and innocent and didn’t deserve to have reality quench my idealism. But even as I grew older, the bogus education agenda remained. I didn’t learn until much later how we were essentially founded on the backs of others.
So I submit….is it wrong to question? What harm ever came from a question?
1492 – What would happen if I sail the ocean blue in the name of the queen?
1490’s – What are the odds said queen who opposed slavery would find out I used forced labor to build a settlement?
1500’s 1600’s – Do you, natives, have gold? How much? Do you believe in God? Never heard of him? Funny….we have rules for that. Tithing. We prefer payment in gold.
1620 – What if we sail to America to escape religious persecution?
1600’s through the westward expansion – Have you never heard of smallpox?
1620’s – Squanto…you can teach us to live in this strange land? You have no quantitative means of showing ownership? Hmmm interesting.
1620’s – Can we grow more crops if we have someone work for nothing? Can we profit more?
1800’s – post Lousiana purchase – What if there’s land west of the Mississippi River?
1838 & 1839 – Will it be as offensive if we call it the Indian Removal act as opposed to what it really is. The trail of tears.
1840’s – How do we remove these Natives? Ah, manifest destiny.
1840’s – Who is Santa Ana? What do you mean he’s fighting for Mexico’s claim of ownership?
1848 – 1855 – What if there’s more gold in that state at the wayyyyy end?
1861 – What would happen if we secede?
1865 – If we fight a battle that includes attrition and starvation and systematic destuction – will the country unite when we’re done?
1865 – If a band of men form who are completely opposed to the dissolution of slavery and run around terrorizing the countryside in white sheets, will it force a repeal of the 13th amendment?
1877 19??’s- If we form a caste system instead, will anyone catch on that it’s essentially the same as slavery even if it lasts almost a century?
1955 – What if I refuse to give up my bus seat?
1957 – Will the verdict of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topkea change the segregation of schools? Will the Little Rock Nine make it safetly home from school?
1960 – What if the four of us stage a sit in Montgomery Alabama?
1963 – Are fire hoses and dogs an effective end to protests?
1963 – What is your dream Dr. King?
1964 – What if we pass the Civil Rights Act?
1965 – What if we march to Selma to protest the direct refusal to honor the Civil Rights Act?
1966 – Who are the Black Panthers?
1967 – Why would the race riots in Detroit start?
1967 – Why would the riots start in Newark?
1967 – What if Thurgood Marshall becomes a sitting Supreme Court Justice?
1968 – What if a shot is fired in Memphis? Will it be felt 50 years later? Will people grieve 50 years later? Will that message last? Will we honor him?
1973 – What if a new music movement is started? What does Hip Hop mean?
1970’s & 1980’s – What if the music industry and move industry exploit?
1990’s – What message is rap sending?
2000’s – What if we elect Senator Obama as President Obama?
2016 – What if we finally recognize that questions need to be asked?
Over and over and over again until we are the America we should be. God bless each and every one of us. I want my friends and loved ones to own that pride. They deserve it.
Does it hurt to ask a question?