Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Mother’s Moment

During the recent Baltimore riots a mother became an internet sensation when she recognized her son and pulled him out of the violence.

A dear friend of ours, (white), posted the much seen photo on her facebook news feed with a leading message to her own sons stating she would do the same.  What followed in the comments thread was a shocking eye opener.   

Now I believe that mother did what all mother’s would do.  She was saving her son.  And I believe she acted out of fear.

In America, when injustices needed to be changed they have been changed in the streets. Protests, and protests that have turned into riots, and riots that have even turned into war, have led the way to change.

I also believe that it’s human nature, black or white, that angry youths (especially males) don’t always contain their anger.  In life anger often erupts into violence. 

Right now we all have a reason to be angry.  Black men are dying at the hands of law enforcement.  And the only way to change it is to bring it to the streets.  And if you were watching Baltimore yesterday, you saw older adult black men out in force to teach the younger adults and teenagers a better way to be heard.

I’ve taken a long time to get to the point but there’s much I wanted to say.

My childhood years were lived during the 1960’s and 70’s in a mostly white town fifteen minutes from East St. Louis Illinois, in a family where the adults used the “n” word often.  Even as a young child I knew the word was wrong. I knew it was hurtful, ugly.  But changes were fought for and made and the nation evolved.  We became better. There came a time when the adults stopped using that word.

The opening commenter on that facebook thread wrote that the mother should, “kick that “n” ass for being a “n”.  And what came after was a slew of comments defending the man’s statement.  I was horrified.  I still am.  How can these people, who I imagine are the same demographic as me, still feel this way all of these years later?

I would bet that each of these people consider themselves to be Christians.  Where is their compassion, their empathy? Where is their tolerance?  Why do they feel superior?  I would also bet they have had very little experience or none at all, being the target of discrimination.  I would also bet they’ve forgotten the feeling of being young, passionate and angry.  Maybe they are very lucky they were born white in America.  Yes, now that is a blessing to be thankful for in their church.

This kind of ignorance is unforgivable.  How can we hope to live in a tolerant and peaceful world if we can’t even live in tolerance and peace in our own nation and our own homes?

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