It’s clear from the events of last weekend that race relations in America are strained to the breaking point. How is this possible? African Americans have broken into all levels of society and economics, all the way up to and including the office of the President of the United States, and yet the black ghetto of any city is still the black ghetto, education and job opportunities are not the same, and crime is disproportionate, leading to the attitudes of white law enforcement officers that caused these wounds to fester and bring all kinds of hateful attitudes to the surface.
We have a facade of equality, but we are far from equal.
How many black friends (or white friends, if you are black) do you have? My friend Wayne Bridegroom talks about “the willingness to do the hard work of honest, respectful racial understanding.” Just what is that hard work? Well, we’re going to find out, but I don’t think I know what it is because I’m not expending any energy doing it. I don’t think most of us care. Until the problem ends up on our doorstep, we’re not going to do anything about it. I can count on one hand the number of black people on my contact list. My already short list sadly got even shorter most recently when gospel singer/songwriter/pastor Andrae Crouch passed away. This mere fact alone would say that I’m not doing the work necessary to create racial understanding. If I’m not a part of the solution, I’m a part of the problem, because my solution is to simply not be any place where the problem shows up.
We are still stereotyping people by the color of their skin. We are not treating everyone the same. I am intimidated and somewhat frightened around African Americans. I want to get rid of that feeling. Can I? Is that part of the hard work necessary? If so, then let’s begin.
How about you? Are you comfortable around people of a different color? Do you look upon everyone with equal value? I think we all have some work to do here.
Please consider this an open invitation for any African American members of our Catch community to contact me via reply to this email. Perhaps we can get some dialogue going that would be helpful to us all.
I am pleased to announce that Wayne Bridegroom has agreed to be our guest on BlogTalkRadio Tuesday night. Wayne is the first white person to receive the Martin Luther King, Jr. award in the city of Modesto, California, for his contribution to improving race relations in that community.