As a baby boomer born in the south I hesitate to speak publicly about this subject because it is very sensitive. Most people do not know how to have a decent conversation about race relationships and would rather not talk about it. Obviously in the era of Trump the conversation is unavoidable.
Bigotry is the complete intolerance against any race, creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own. This ugly beast predates the birth of this nation. The threads of bigotry are stitched through the fabric that this country was built upon. This is a fact that cannot be disputed. If you need a reminder just read the Willie Lynch letter.
Willie Lynch delivered this speech on the banks of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712. Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to the colony of Virginia in 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners there. The term lynching was derived from his last name. (I copied this information from the introduction to the Willie Lynch letter from the Internet Archive.)
As deplorable as this letter was it explained to white slave owners how to control their slaves. Black people were harvested out of Africa as one would purchase livestock. These proud people were treated like animals and were considered personal property. There were no human rights afforded to them. The atrocities committed against fellow human beings for centuries are unmatched in the history of mankind. Even though Germany’s persecution of the Jews was just as horrific, the timespan covered was unmatched.
The slave trade started long before 1712 but it was such an integral part of the colonies during the time that Willie Lynch was brought in as an expert to teach slave owners how to tame their property, or as he stated, to teach them methods for controlling their slaves. I don’t want to summarize his letter here because you need to read it for yourself. I offer it only as a measure of proof to those who might deny the reality of slavery as a fundamental cornerstone in the foundation of this country.
I don’t even care to share the dark stain that slavery caused from the early 1600s to date because it is self-evident. I do, however want to encourage white people who may not know this history to start learning by reading the W.L. letter then try to imagine why most black people in America cannot skirt around the subject of race relationships. Try to imagine how such inhumane treatment was done to a people intentionally for centuries. Some of the very practices used back then are still prevalent today. Denying blacks equal access and equal rights still happens even though law prohibits it.
The affects of this indoctrination process gravely impacts African Americans today. Hundreds of years of discriminatory practices not only denied access the American dream, but also psychologically impaired generations of their descendants. They were told that they were inferior and not deserving of what white people had. When you had no rights and could not protest what was done to you without getting lynched, it is like a wrangler would break the will of a horse. After constant browbeating the horse submits its will and accepts placing a bit in their mouths to be controlled. Human beings may submit to a degree under intense pressure, but the desire to be free never goes away. The impact of such long-term treatment has turned into hot molding lava in the soul of black people today that could erupt with just a tiny spark. Somehow, white America claims to not understand why. Try walking in the shoes that were forced upon African Americans.
The first step of the healing process would be totally admitting that this horrific thing actually happened and that some is still happening. Bigotry is still in the fabric that holds this nation together. If you take all the stitches out of the garments that you are wearing, then try to imagine how significant the threads are that wove this country together. The truth can be painful but to deny it would only delay the cure. The ugly truth is the ugly truth. The healing process might be a painful but until we start down that road it will remain hot molding lava in the souls of black people ready to erupt at any moment.
I am pleased to hear that one political party has taken on the responsibility to bring this subject up for discussion. Obviously they want black votes. Presidential candidates seeking national recognition are forced to listen to issues concerning black people. They are asked to explain how they plan to address the racial problems should they become president. The fact that many of the town-hall style forums are being televised should finally bring this subject into the forefront of the nation. Finally we should be able to have a real conversation about race. We need to discuss the complete removal of the shackles that have held a people down for so long, and also devise a plan to lift up those who were held down to an equal playing field where all people have equal opportunities.
Coming up with a realistic plan to correct centuries of malfeasance cannot be done during a single election cycle. However if people have good intent we can take a big bite out of the elephant. How do you eat an elephant… one bite at a time? We have many million of mouths so we can take many million of bites out of the elephant. One bite is no longer an acceptable plan of action.
Obviously tackling such a serious and sensitive issue will be tough. It could ignite a few fires along the way, mostly from the ungodly that want to see things remain the same. They want to make America white again. But for those who believe in a Divine God, we do not have to tackle this problem alone. There is a Helper that stands with us every step of the way. Remember we were all created by the same God therefore we have a common bond. That ugly thread that stitched this nation together was not of God. It was from His enemy. At the same time we are unweaving the ugly threads of the past we can replace them with good godly thread. If we allow our Helper to stand beside us as we attempt to do God’s work we will not be alone, nor will we be denied.
My fellow Americans, it is time for us to have this conversation about race so this nation can become that shinning city on a hill… the land of the brave and the free. We can finally become one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
NOTE: My comments are not intended to offend god-fearing (white) people but merely to point out a systemic problem we share as a nation. I do not hate white people. I do not understand why some would hate me. I am merely speaking truth to power. May God bless America!