In Light of Charleston

ChurchDear America,

Today, I listened to Tom Ashbrook’s OnPoint roundtable discussion about the Emanuel AME Church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina. The one-hour segment covered a gamut of issues including the shooting, race in America, the Confederate Flag, and the media’s presentation of African Americans in comparison with White Americans.

I appreciate that Tom Ashbrook and many other media outlets are more than willing to discuss the racial issues in America, and welcome guests and callers with diverse, overt opinions, but I am tired of these discussions because they foster more anger.

I am weary of African Americans who make strong racial comments that offend me, even though I am an African American, and think all White Americans hate them. I am weary of White Americans who think that racism and prejudice are dead issues that were resolved when slavery ended, the Civil Rights Era concluded, and Barack Obama became President. Mostly, I grieve for the people who have died, friends and family members who are suffering, and for the unknown people who will join the growing list of those murdered in acts of racial violence.

The hatred magnified on both sides is mentally exhausting. It takes so much effort to examine each issue of racially-fueled, domestic terrorism to understand the errors, bias, and prejudice with which the media presents the issue, and to understand errors in intonation, word choice, photo selection, and other modes of communication to pinpoint where racism begins and where racism ends. It’s like revisiting personal trauma over and over again. You can never heal because you continuously reopen wounds. It is unhealthy, and in many cases, it is unproductive.

Events of racial violence must be investigated, and people must be brought to trial, but the constant regurgitation of racism and hatred must end. I present my method of combating the racial violence that has exploded across the country.

  1. Act right. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Be kind.
  2. Forgive. Forgive those who have wronged you because you have a particular skin color or are a member of a particular culture.
  3. Repent. If you have offended someone of another race or culture, own up to you faults. Send a card, call, or knock on someone’s door, and say, “I’m sorry.”
  4. Pray. Ask God to help our nation. Ask God to renew your heart and mind.
  5. Community. Become friends with people who are different than you. Spend time with them. Eat where they eat. Go to their sporting events. Get to know their culture, and get to know them as human beings who live and breathe just as you do.

My recommendation seems simple, but humility is difficult to achieve. My recommendation does not fully mend the terror of Charleston, Boston, or Ferguson, but it will help prevent future violence, and it also reflects the root of the issue: the individual. Racial remediation in America begins with each of us. Laws have been altered and erected in favor of equality, but it is the hearts and minds of many individuals that must be reformed. How does this renewal begin? It begins with increased personal reflection, forgiveness, repentance, prayer, and community.

When this is put into action, Confederate Flags will come down, unnecessary police force will become uncommon, and people will worship and pray in peace.

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