Watching TV – naturally – but today is the Sunday shows – “Face the Nation” – and there is a discussion of race going on. Great piece about how things have come along since the early 60s and integration/voting rights were initially attempted. Conversation about walking across the Pettus bridge – named after a Confederate general and then later a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Bob Shaeffer related a blurb about when Rep John Lewis, who was there at the original marches for voting rights and equality, was asked should the name of the bridge be changed. Rep Lewis indicated no, that the country needs to remember from where it has come.
Meanwhile, here in North Carolina at both ECU and UNC, students are raising a ruckus and want to rename buildings because the names originally given to a single building at both the campuses HAVE racial implications. I’m not sure which campus went first, but I’ve no doubt one or the other just didn’t want to feel left out. Youth. Got to be protesting something.
As I believe I wrote in another piece, I don’t feel that continually rewriting and obscuring history due to political/racial/ leanings of the day is ever good. Like in Orwell’s 1984, if we’re at war with the East, we’ve ALWAYS been at war with the East. Or West. It does nobody any good to constantly reframe the realities from which we draw our perspectives on history – and the truth. Like Representative Lewis indicates he feels, being able to compare and contrast things over the years allow us to understand how far we HAVE come, and how far we have yet to go, IS important.
I would say though to all those who scream about how bad and far away we are from equality – there IS more to this process than moving to a new house. When you move to a new house, you take the things you want and plop everything into a structure that’s just the way you want it. You leave something that was just not workable anymore and go to someplace where you can now get what you want and keep the good things that you had before (to some degree). Improving something like race relations is neither that quick nor that easy. We can’t just move everyone to a new house where everything is under a 10 year warranty and everything will be fixed. We have to take the old house we’ve got and retrofit it – and that takes time. Period. Tehre will be pulling down some walls, there will be patching some walls, putting some windows in, replacing some windows – and maybe finally, some new doors. The “outside” of the “house” can be all prettied up with lots of laws and words protecting this or that, but where it REALLY comes down is inside where we all need to be getting along – and that’s just NOT going to be changing as quickly. But it will eventually. All in all, I think there’s a lot of same thinking between people regardless of race – at least more than we seem to realize. The news will always focus on the discord – and NOT the places where we have similarities unfortunately.
So why is this particular blurb titled, “The Talk”? Because the conversation turned to the horrible murders of 3 Muslim 20 somethings here in the Triangle area last week. I have to agree with the opinion that it was more of a vile nut job issue than a hate crime issue, but the hard details really haven’t been outlined yet. What we have heard is pretty much that this monster hated everything and everybody – which leads me to believe that it wasn’t a “hate crime” in the legal sense of the term. He didn’t likely target those 3 individuals because they were Muslim – they were targeted because he hated humanity and they happened to be the humanity in front of him.
One of panel mentioned something about Muslims now needing to have “the talk” with their children like black families need to ostensibly. That is where this particular piece got started. I personally think that ALL parents should be having “the talk” with their children – about authority, responsibility, and getting along as decent citizens and HUMANS in our world. My parents taught me to respect the police and authority in general. You don’t pick a fight with them. IF you think you’re right and they’re wrong, you aren’t going to win an argument by being confrontational. You may sway them with logic, but it surely won’t be by being disrespectful. I’ve seen way too many videos that ended badly by someone, or someones, wanting to meet a police bias or perceived police prejudice with anger and subsequent escalation. I don’t believe that this is just limited to blacks, whites or any other group. Do we have some corrupt cops out there? By god, yes, we do. That DOES need to be addressed. But as in some of these videos to which I refer – you’re not going to change it at 12:30 am when you are shifting around outside a a convenience store in a high crime area and a cop asks you what you’re doing. Not the time or place. Parents – THIS is the conversation that needs to be had with your children.
I can only imagine what it must be like in a place that has traditionally been repressed, be it racially-based or any other reason. We’re in the South here with a lot of very rural areas. I am fully sure that there are areas that you don’t WANT to be even perceived as causing any trouble in – regardless of your race, religion or anything else. When things are obscured from public view and review, they have a nasty tendency to take their own turns and twists perhaps based on the “way it should be” – perhaps not.
My point? It doesn’t matter what color you are, what religion you are, or any myriad of other personal attributes – to operate in society, you need to operate IN society. There are methods for addressing grievances in our legal system, in our judicial system and in societal methods as well. Use them.