The Crusader Newspaper Group

Races must unite to thwart mounting hatred in America

By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader

It is wrong and counterproductive to subscribe to the myth that all white people are evil. That kind of incendiary posture thwarts progress and contributes to racial tension. From the outset of the Black experience in this land, there have been legions of white allies in varying forms leveraging resources in support of the greater good.

African Americans embrace good-hearted, caring, conscientious people of other persuasions who speak up and echo outrage over mistreatment. This country functions best when we respect differences of opinions and/or cultures while still uniting against affronts of human dignity and the integrity of democracy.

There are some continuing that quest for justice today. Still others agree, in principal, with the wrongfulness of discrimination that is an abomination, but refuse to engage in the struggle. It is easier for some to rationalize misconduct as the sins of a handful of malevolent individuals in isolated incidents that do not accurately reflect the entirety of society.

They would rather self-diagnose a migraine headache as just a stress related discomfort rather than face the risk of discovering a life-threatening tumor – irrational optimism. The wise know persistent pain that escalates requires closer examination; perhaps an MRI or CAT scan. There are times when banking boundless faith on speculation is not enough.

Some will say we reached that point in this country decades ago when three civil rights workers’ bodies were pulled from a swamp near Philadelphia, Mississippi, when the open-casket funeral revealed the brutality of Emmet Till beaten beyond recognition, when the lives of four Black girls were taken in a KKK bombing of a Birmingham church.

These American atrocities occurred 50 or more years ago. There were countless atrocities prior to this list of shame, prior to and well after these tragedies.

The dehumanization of the African American is a perpetual toxin to the body of democracy. One problem with identifying the cure is the constant misdiagnosis of symptoms.

For example, when the 14-year-old was chased from a white man’s front door in a hail of gunfire after stopping to ask for directions to school, the response from many was “why didn’t he know” or “that’s the oldest trick (of criminals) in the book.” The one and only question is would a white youth in the same situation have been treated differently.

When two Black men were handcuffed and arrested for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks because they were waiting on a business associate, more than a few got their social media grind on, asking why the pair didn’t just buy coffee. It is far easier to accept or simply ignore forced submission as a casual observer rather than as a constant victim.

Conversation on race in America is exhausting. The frustration of many is that so little seems to result from this dialogue. While that point is debatable, it is certain that conditions would be far worse if silence and dismissal were the mantra of those enthusiastically engaged in the resistance of oppression, discrimination and bigotry.

The bottom line is that with our so-called leadership meandering between indifference and belligerence, it is more important than ever before for lovers of freedom and justice to find their collective voice and express an unyielding embrace of uncompromising values. Ralph Waldo Emerson laments that evil prospers when good men and women say nothing. Likewise, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached that at the end it won’t be the words of your enemies that did the most damage but rather the silence of your friends.

This column is a callout to non-Blacks to set aside any measure of prejudice you may harbor in your heart past or present, and yield to your better angels to do the right thing just because it is right. We need to teach children that there is more to civilization than labels and our selfish agenda; that some forces of nature are more compelling.

Cynics may reject this appeal because of either their frustration of failed past attempts to reach racial consensus, or their suspicion that those in power will never intentionally yield an iota of their position to strengthen the base of another people. My retort is that the past does not necessarily dictate the future and that our fate lies in recognition that we are one diverse people.

Something dramatic has to happen. No matter how long it has existed, this cannot go on. Police arrested the man who shot at the 14-year-old. The two Black men at Starbucks were arrested a short while later with no charges filed and an apology from the top levels of Starbucks management.

The fear of running away from gunshots, knowing that either bullet striking could result in death, may have scarred the lost young student for life.

The removal of two men from Starbucks in front of the world, for no reason other than the color of their skin, unmasks the haunting presence of apartheid in the U.S.

Any person unable to empathize with those targeted for such spiritually debilitating mistreatment reveals not only their jaded politic, but covert hatred closeted within their own hearts.

Truly good men and women find it far too difficult to swallow that which is repugnant to their palate. You must choose sides, America. There is no middle ground between right and wrong.

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

Recent News

Scroll to Top