I love this picture, for obvious reasons. Photo courtesy of abc3340.com
Musings, based what has been happening in this country, on what seems to be a nadir on relations between races, cultures, and ethnic groups in this country with no end in sight.
Like seemingly every other black male of African descent in these United States, I have been the target of negativity solely based on my skin color.
I have been called the “N” word, particularly as a young boy in Riverside, CA, where the then-rural community I lived in (Woodcrest) featured numerous Caucasian folks of European descent from places like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
I have been denied jobs solely because of my skin color, notably when I was in my early 20s and a lady, upon laying her eyes upon me and giving a less-than enthusiastic reaction after such an enjoyable conversation on the phone, told me that the job I was seeking had already been filled.
I have felt ostracized in various places throughout my adult years.
And I have been the target of racial profiling as I was stopped by the police in Santa Monica, CA, where I lived for over twenty years, on at least four occasions, being handcuffed during one of them in front of my house due to me fitting the description of a stalker; if I didn’t show them my ID, I probably would have spent a few years in jail for something I did not do.
So when I heard about the latest killings of unarmed black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and what was apparently a retaliatory strike in Dallas with the lives of those five cops being snuffed out by Micah Xavier Johnson during a Black Lives Matter protest, my thoughts were varied…
Something that will hopefully induce hope: Cat Stevens’s (now Yusuf Islam’s) classic song “Peace Train”
First: None of this was anything new as African-American men have been unnecessarily killed by authority figures for as long as African-Americans have existed in America.
Second: Those cops who murdered Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in the Minneapolis area, like pretty much every other cop who has committed similar acts before, will not be charged with any crime and will essentially get off free and clear.
Third: It seems like race relations have plummeted and are at their lowest point in decades during Barack Obama’s presidency, as statements and efforts from conservative whites, in politics and elsewhere, to discredit our 43rd Commander-In-Chief have abounded.
Not to mention the rise in racist incidents at colleges like the universities of Oklahoma and Missouri.
Fourth: As I have written in an article on Hubpages.com, despite the efforts and labors of icons like Martin Luther King and the advances that the Civil Rights Movement produced, there remains a certain amount of self-separation between races and ethnic groups due to cultural differences, a natural desire for people to interact based on what they have in common, and a notion that differences often breed discomfort, which breeds distrust.
I remember writing that no matter how many “I Have A Dream” speeches are made or how many times “We Shall Overcome” is sung, you can’t force a racist – in any color – to not be one.
You can’t force someone who thinks folks of different races are inferior, created to be subservient and who need to be “in their place”, to feel differently.
And you can’t force someone – black, white, Latino, or Asian – who vehemently frowns over racially mixed couples to suddenly embrace them.
Why can’t we all get along like these two sweet little girls? Photo courtesy of blackyouthproject.com
Fifth: This is something that has been in my mind for a while.
Based on all the current protest marches and confrontations between (mostly) white police and (mostly black and Latino) demonstrators, not to mention the riots that have resulted after incidents like this in the past,
I cannot help wondering if we are on the brink of a second Civil War.
A war not between the states, but a war between the races.
Judging from the comments I have read in articles regarding race that I have read online and the various statements from conservative whites (and African-Americans like Stacey Dash), one may well think such as I can’t help feeling that all it would take is one riot,
One skirmish between blacks and police that gets out of control,
One instance of some conservative white person who may be among some anti-Black Lives Matter counter demonstrators, who says the wrong thing and is attacked and (probably) killed by folks who are fed up, triggering an all-out brawl,
And you may well have the first battle of a race war, a Fort Sumter in a sense.
I also can’t help wondering if a hundred years from now, the dreams of racists will come true and America will be separated on the basis of color due to an impasse, the leaders conceding that the longtime racial animosities will never be solved and – like a divorcing couple or the Hindus and Muslims during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 (much to Mahatma Gandhi’s dismay) – the best solution being a formation of separate countries.
Of course it’s my sincere hope that this scenario will never come to pass, but…
Sometimes it’s a little difficult to be completely hopeful based on these recent and ongoing racial incidents and unrest.
However, I do know this:
Killing police officers will not do anything to stop racial profiling and murder of blacks by law enforcement.
Neither will rioting as if that were the case, attacks on people of color would have ended nearly 100 years ago.
I’m honestly not sure what the answer is – besides love and loving one another according to what Jesus Christ commands – but…
As Marvin Gaye once sang, war is NOT it.
I suppose that’s all I have to say about all of this, at least for now.
Group of diverse teenagers standing together and smiling for the camera. Horizontal shot. Love this shot, too! Photo courtesy of ojaialano.wordpress.com