As a Southerner and self-proclaimed redneck…it has always bothered me when I heard the argument that it’s “heritage…not hate”. I think the real ironic part is that the heritage was born out of the hate. Most folks walking around in Dixie Outfitter shirts and cracking racist jokes these days don’t seem to realize that. I do. I was raised in the deep south in the late 60s and early 70s. While the rest of the world may have recognized equal rights by then…northwestern Louisiana had not.
I can remember the Thanksgiving parade downtown when black folks were made to stand on the “other side of the street” where there were no park benches or curbs to sit on. I can still remember going to the park and seeing two drinking fountains…one for “colored” people and one for everyone else. I can recall the glow of the burning crosses over Caddo Lake in the early morning hours on our way to duck hunt. Mainly I remember the uproar in our community when they started busing “those n****ers” into our schools “because the government said so”. Yes, I was raised around racism, the acceptance of the KKK as normal “God-fearing” citizens and stories about the good ol’ days when lynchings were legal. Even at such a young age it never struck me as heritage…it always wreaked of hate. Hatred for what I still do not understand? How could people be so angry…about a color…especially the color of a man’s skin?
Yet here we sit in the 21st Century and not much has changed. I’ve been watching a political candidate that has a sharp mind, moral fortitude and progressive ideas. However, people are choosing whether or not to vote for him by the color of his skin. The racism seems to run both ways…some will vote for him because he is black…and some will vote against him because his is not white. The sad part is…both are wrong in their reasons. Those that promote his African American roots are just as guilty of furthering racism as those that believe in “white power”. Both cannot see the man within because of their focus on the color outside. Both are damaging views!!!
If you don’t believe me…ask Tony Dungy or Lovie Smith. Both are incredible Christian coaches and lifelong friends. Both worked hard to get to the position of head coach in the NFL and both lead their respective teams to the Super Bowl Yet, all anyone could talk about was how historic the event was because of their race. All Tony and Lovie wanted was respect from the world for their accomplishments…and leadership…as men…not black men…just men. Instead it was cheapened by the world and media playing the “race card”.
This is a new century…one with promise…hope…and chance for something new. It is time for reality…and time to stop playing games with the race card. It is not heritage…it is hate. It was born of it…passed on from generation to generation because of it…and still lingers today because it is hate. It is time to come to grips with the fact that the South lost the war, it was over a hundred years ago, the KKK were murderers and jokes at other’s expense isn’t funny any longer. Fold up the “stars and bars” flag and put it away…it just looks stupid in today’s society.
On the other hand O.J. most likely did it, Kobe shouldn’t have been with another woman and Jesse is nothing more than an opportunist…and it has nothing to do with the color of their skin! Put away the Malcolm X quotes and 2Pac lyrics…they just sound stupid in today’s society.
We can no longer blame such stupidity on the company we keep or the way we were raised. We cannot blame it on experiences in life or the cards we’ve been dealt. If we truly want to be Followers of Christ then we must truly follow the ways in which He saw people. He saw the heart…not the the skin. He experienced racial attacks…and yet still displayed love. He looked past the sin…and saw the potential. Jesus Christ saw no color….that is what we must aim for in our own lives!!!
Until we can look at a man…or woman…and see them for who they are…what they are…and what they stand for…instead of the color they are…then we truly haven’t overcome the heritage…and the hate.