Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ramblings on Race

I don’t know enough about the current racial situation in this country to have an opinion, but of course I’ll ramble about it for a while. As an older middle class white person living in the suburbs I am far removed from my days playing football at a majority black high school. I may have had black friends and classmates every year I was in school, but I never experienced what they have to go through being carefully watched by police officers. I may have lived near Little Five Points and near Piedmont Park and worked downtown at the CNN Center, and I may have ridden MARTA many times, but I really have no idea what black people experience. Does that make me racist?

I'm going to refer to African-American people here as black people, because that is a term used by the media. In no way do I mean to slight or disrespect anyone. This entire essay on racial tension will probably come off as entirely naïve. Words can be taken out of context. My hope in writing is that I will better understand and work through how I feel and respond to this terrible smudge on our formerly great country.  

The police have an incredibly tough job and I appreciate what they do. I could never be a policeman. The type person that graduates from high school and sets out to work in law enforcement often enjoys wielding authority a little too much. In their youth they often go too far. Many are white, with rural roots as opposed to the inner city. Patrolling high crime areas can be thankless, dangerous duty.  These are often in areas where black people live. To have to live in a world where law enforcement always keeps an eye on me and assumes I am up to know good would be a terrible thing. As it is, whenever I see a police car while driving I automatically slow down. To have to live like that every moment of every day would be sad and oppressive. Yet many live in rebellion from law enforcement, breaking laws both in public and private.

The media and executive branch of the government address only one side of the story and regularly omit the facts. When any police officer has to shoot someone attacking or charging at them with a gun, why does the race of the policeman or criminal matter? If the assailant was breaking the law and appearing as an obvious threat to lives in the area, race should not matter. In the past few months the AJC has reported several times that a white policeman shot and killed a black person, completely failing to mention that the black person was charging at them with a gun. “Witnesses” gave false testimony in the Missouri case. Black on black crime is more prevalent than white on black crime. No one can have it both ways. Is mentioning this make me racist?

Racism has become a word people incorrectly use out of convenience. Many people automatically assume someone is racist when they criticize the current President. Every President in my lifetime has been loudly criticized at one point or another – even the ever popular John F Kennedy. Presidents are criticized for their actions and inactions. Every word said and unsaid is dissected. Toughest job in the world. The criticism has little to do with race. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been just as culpable. 

Recently a legislator proposed their state issue a public apology for the state’s role in slavery. I was glad that most of the commenters about the article thought the proposal was insane. No one alive today was responsible for the way life was lived hundreds of years ago. People in the north have no idea how life was in the South when today’s adults were growing up.

Last May Michael Smith, a public defender in a large Southern city, published his experiences and observations of citizens in the current judicial system, on the American Renaissance website: He describes a world where unwed teenage mothers have babies not to love and nurture, but as a means to secure government support. The jobless fathers hang around all day, just "chilling." When crimes are committed and the public defender shares the reality of the situation he is deemed to be out to get the defendant. 

While what he says may be true in the American judicial system today, I cannot believe he is talking about the black race as a whole. Many blanks advance, particularly through hard work and education. Do blacks outside the United States have the same experience? Blacks in Europe? Incarceration rates of blacks are higher in the US than other countries. 

I hear conversations and wonder if people think about the words they’re saying. Instead of trying to build on one good decision and another people feel hopeless, thinking there is no way out of their current situation – and instead make one bad decision after another. Wise council and the true word of God falls on death ears. Will so many bad decisions not eventually blind them to what is right?

Like following their slave-owner masters before them, today many lower and middle class black people blindly follow shucksters like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Cynthia McKinney, and Oprah. These “community leaders” have no interest except to line their own pockets with money and power. Instead of positively encouraging people to grow and learn and rise up to achieve greater things these leaders instead tear down and try to drag our entire society down to deeper depths.    

As a tax-paying white middle class American I had an easier route than most blacks. Today we live in an age of the disappearing middle class. Goods and services are becoming harder and harder to pay for. My family is becoming more lower class than upper class. I see how the upper class lives, how children are raised in privilege, go to top tier schools, and get upwardly mobile jobs upon graduation. The rich run in country club circles that I am unfamiliar with. Should I be mad that the rich have opportunities that I don’t? What should my response be? Why should I demand things be given to me? Shouldn’t I have to work for them, even if what I earn is less than the rich? The parable of talents is particularly applicable these days. All people aren’t blessed with equal amounts. Since everything belongs to God we should honor Him with how we handle His possessions.  

Blacks are a religious, church-going people yet there seems to be a complete disconnect between God’s word and the life that’s being lived. So much more “look at me” with all the pairs of expensive sneakers and other bling. Black movies and music glorify sex outside of marriage and being promiscuous much more so than white entertainment. I’m not saying that white movies and music aren’t (they’re typically more violent, in fact), but black entertainment is much more so obsessed with sex. A society of consumption with a hand out for cell phones, rent, childcare, food stamps, welfare, unemployment. City governments and educational boards marred by under the table deals and illegal payments and use of government property. Videos are made detailing how to illegally manipulate the government so they don’t have to work.    

Blacks aren’t the only ones to take unfair advantage of the system. A large portion of white society has also turned their backs on God. Atheist and agnostic and homosexual verbally attack Christians and use the government to enforce their will on others - unlike the blacks who figuratively bite the government hands that feed them by protesting and attacking law enforcement. There are white criminals. Their crimes against white people often go unreported. The TV show Crisley Knows Best is a perfect example of white ignorance. Honey Boo Boo’s family may lead a sad existence but there’s little of the greed and selfishness exhibited on The Real Housewives.

The more I write the more racist I sound. Is this whole race issue just one more symptom of this world’s downward spiral? So many seemingly senseless acts are being glossed over and not addressed by the media and government. Some say we are living in the last days, but it seems like so much could be worse than things are today. I weep for the world my children will live in. God give them strength and courage, and Your love.    

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