This is a collection of stories that, when considered together, can help inform you on my perspective of Race in America.
We humans can be God and the Devil both. Through our choice we can do resounding good. Through our compulsions, unspeakable evil. Who we are can change at any moment. While that can be terrifying, I look at it as a freedom. War is a constant in our world. But so is philosophy. Art. Math and science. And religions which, at their core, are concerned about the souls of people and what lay beyond us. That is beautiful.
It is why, looking at thousands of years of history and eons of evolution it is disconcerting to see that we still engage in such wide scale violence. And, perhaps worse than that, are small scale oppression that go unnoticed especially when they stand in the shadow of global conflict. More harrowing still is that is the most unremarkable of reasons why this enmity persists.
The Civil Rights Movement, most commonly associated with peoples of color in the United States in my experience, has been reborn. Not only are actions and behaviors now coming to light that threaten everyone due to advances in technology, but now the LGBTQ community faces discrimination in some similar ways to the Segregation Era. And rather than looking back just fifty years many cling to their ideas blindly without seeing the hurt it causes.
Some of this occurs via religion. Two people of the same sex lying together is an abomination. I grew up in many churches. I have seen where this was pointed out. I can only speak to the Bible as that is my upbringing. That book was compiled nearly thousands of years ago. The world was completely different. And, just as I know that parts of my life limit my worldview, so too can this be said of the Bible’s authors. I believe Truth will be revealed to whoever seeks it and the source won’t matter. I have studied many religions. You never need to go far to find sentiments of caring for others. These are in all parts of the world.
It pains me, personally, to see other people of color use the Bible to support their ideals. Why? Because in the lifetimes of some of our elders who lived through Segregation other Christians used the very same book to deem us as worthless. According to their outlook, people of color were made by God inferior and to be subservient. We should remain in our place. Seen, not heard. And when I hear Christians saying that everyone in a Pride parade should go back into the closest it is the same. When we fixate on issues of bathrooms it is similar. And the fact that, in many places, blind eyes are turned when LGBTQ individuals are abused and alone it is much the same as with people of color.
Going back from the present day there are groups that have felt they were restrained. LGBTQ, ” racial minority” groups, women, immigrants, and going back to England religious minority groups. And every time people spoke up, someone try to hammer them back down. But with persistence equality was gained. But what I view as an unsettling truth, every time equality is gained, it makes the majority bigger. It becomes harder and harder for people who feel repressed to get the breathing room they need. According to democracy, the majority rules. This is a gross oversimplification of history, but you can look at the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1900s as being White Christians vs. Black Christians. It’s been nearly half a century and now Christians of every stripe stand together against who they view as the next threat to their ideal world.
I may seem to plug overmuch at Christians. For this I apologize. As I said however, I am speaking from my own experience. I was raised in three different churches simultaneously. One of them, the one I called my own, was a very open place. The other two were on opposite sides of the Protestant/Orthodox Schism. I have had to stand for myself in the face of Christian ideology for a long time.
What solutions can be implemented? The first is this: To those who feel hemmed in, keep standing back up. Who we are varies. For some, sexual identity is at the core of being. For others, such as I, it is one of many facets. In any case continue to be a good person. There may be people out there that view us as degenerates. That think one drop of what they do not approve of equates to complete contamination. In the face of that, live well. It is a wonderful vengence. Over time, everyone will know someone who is openly LGBTQ. They will know them to be a good person, and those they associate with to be the same. And as time goes on they will be a knowledge to counter fear. History may lean toward finding a new group to begrudge against every generation. But what is also proven is that Love truly does conquer all in the long term. It will be a fight, and not an easy one. We can only hope that this is the last one, and that humanity will be better off. This extends the modern era as well. Let us keep Love in mind for whatever group stands up next.
For all my history with Christianity, I know good Christians. They both adhere to the words in the Bible, but listen to their own hearts. They are good people, and Christianity is a part of their expression. To borrow a verbal trope, they would be in the “Not All Christians” hashtag. If the majority, especially the vocal one, of Christians were as these people I would proudly count myself among their number.
To those of us on the other side, standing in one majority or another, I think there are a few things we can do. The first of which is to know history. History tells us of humans. We can see patterns. And while the weight it should bear upon the present day varies, having a grasp of how life has progressed will help us see when old patterns come up again.
Listening is a second step. We can play games, watch movies, listen to radio reports, and take in news media to get a perspective outside of ourselves. Even when it is foreign opinion, little harm can be done by taking it to heart. If someone says they feel threatened, don’t write it off. They are telling you what they perceive to be true. If you truly disagree, walk in their shoes or their path with them for a time. Begin to care for them and see the world from their perspective. You will come to understand their discomfort in time. And perhaps, with your insight, you can help them see a path beyond their plight. Walking hand in hand is, I think, a better path to the future.
If making abstractions and approximations doesn’t suit you, get involved. Humans tend to lean toward living in communities that support them. This means that we are often not in places that challenge us directly. Too much of that is detrimental, but a little can be educational. At least such has been true in my life. Video games have been one of my routes to cultural expansion. Thanks to an online game I made a friend in The United Kingdom. I love speaking with her. I was aware of events going on in the world thanks to the BBC, but due to my friendship I cared with more heart. This is the same with any sphere outside what you regularly keep. It isn’t easy, but the time can be well spent.
As I said, I hope that this is the last era that such conflict occurs in. But, in the event human history remains the same for awhile longer, I hope that those that read this will remember love.