Seriously?

My lovely wife and I were in Palm Springs this past weekend, celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary, when she said, “there’s your next blog.” She even suggested its title. We had been conversing about current events, throughout our mini-vacation, and my wife noticed we inevitably would ask ourselves the same question at the end of many of our discussions. One morning after getting our caffeine fix, at a local independent coffee shop, the missus finally made her suggestions known to me. We were leaving the establishment when I pointed to the colorful sticker affixed to the door. It donned the colors of the rainbow and stated, “diversity is welcome here.” My wife and I both immediately said, “Seriously?”

We didn’t understand why the coffee shop would purposely solicit the homosexual community, to be their customers, seemingly above everyone else. I initially felt a little discriminated against, since we were mere heterosexuals, but then I remembered those cake decorating businesses that caters to everyone except homosexuals. I guess fair is fair. However, when I owned a business I was thankful for anyone who was willing to be my customer. Anyway, it has been well over a year since the last time I let my wife influence my writing, and actually name my blog, so I figured it was about time I’d honor her request and allow her to do it again.

Last week a massacre took place inside a Charleston, South Carolina church. A young, White gunman opened fire, during a Bible study, shooting 10 Black parishioners: killing 9 of them. Apparently, some people think the despicable attack was against Christianity since the act of violence happened in a church. Seriously? I think the senseless crime was obviously racially motivated. The shooter, Dylann Roof, allegedly shouted racial epithets, while committing the murders, and his Facebook page and a website contains racist rants and photos of him wearing white supremacy attire. If any offence was ever to be labeled a “hate crime” I would think this one would certainly qualify; however, I’m generally opposed to using that term because all intentional murder derives from hate.

Also tragic, but of course on a much smaller scale, is the way such horrific events are politicized after the fact. The gun control and mental health debates quickly surface, but they are usually forgotten once the victims are laid to rest. This time there is an added dimension, to the political arena, since there is now a crusade to remove all Confederate flags from the capitol grounds of several Southern states. I’ve never claimed to be a history buff, so I’m not exactly sure what their flag is suppose to convey. I do know the Confederate flag’s design looks pretty sweet on top of The General Lee: the ’69 Dodge Charger co-star of The Dukes of Hazzard. Regardless, I would have to agree that if the Confederate flag construes a message of hate, towards the Black community, then it most-certainly should’ve been retired at the time slavery was rightfully abolished.

However, I adamantly disagree with those who profess that the recent shooting has set this country back in terms of our race relations. The atrocious actions of one sick individual does not erase several years of racial progress. I also fervently disagree with Eleanor Clift’s assessment, in wake of the devastating aftermath, when referring to the Charleston congregation’s decision to forgive the murderer. The McLaughlin Group panelist said, “This congregation and the Black community there is being extraordinarily gracious in forgiving – I’m not sure if that were a White congregation and a Black shooter if the Whites would respond quite so graciously.” Seriously? I worship at a predominantly White church, and I’m quite sure if the roles were reversed the majority of the flock would react in precisely the same manner.

I don’t really understand racism. My high school graduating class, of around 300 students, consisted of two Blacks, one Indian, and the rest of us, who were many shades of White; therefore, I’m hardly an expert on race relations. To single out an entire race though, or a religion for that matter, as being “less than” seems asinine to me. I might not be able to fully comprehend the past oppression of Blacks, but I do know a thing or two about reverse racism. When I was attempting to open a music store in my small hometown, during the mid-nineties, I became aware of just how difficult it can be for a White man to start his own business in this country.

I had researched the music store industry, contacted plenty of distributors, and found an excellent location for my establishment. I then formed a business plan and presented it to the city’s Chamber of Commerce. They approved the plan and agreed a music store would make a nice addition to the downtown area. I went to the bank, with my outstanding credit history in tow, to request a loan for the startup costs. After a pleasant meeting with the bank lender my request was denied. The representative solemnly and reluctantly informed me that I would not have any problem receiving the funds if I was Black, or a woman, or better yet if I was a Black woman. Seriously?

Fortunately, a special person was in the financial position to be able to loan me the money (and at a much better interest rate). The aforementioned type of reverse racism will continue to exist as long as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and affirmative action continues to exist. Likewise, this great nation of ours will never entirely rid itself of racism until all Whites consider minorities as their equals and all Blacks are willing to stop reminding the younger generations of their ancestors’ past years of persecution. That will never happen. Seriously!

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2 responses to “Seriously?

  • LES

    Jim, I HATE racisim!!

    Racisim is taught.

    It is taught by SOME people in all races!

    I, too, do not understand how people of one race can consider ALL people of a different race inferior or superior. But, I have read about what most of the white, slave owners (of the old south) felt about the black people. They were, in fact, not thought of as people at all!

    This fact is part of what has led some families and groups to continue to teach racism. I am always pleased when I see young people of different races enjoying each other. They truly understand that we are all just people.

    At some point in most people’s lives someone tries to convince them that some race is better than some other race. Consider the song “You Have to Be Taught” (at least, I think that is the name of the song) from the wonderful, musical “South Pacific”. That song really lays it on the line.

    Thanks for allowing me to express myself about this matter.

  • Joyce ringgenberg

    Jimmy, yes I will always think of you as Jimmy! :). I just finished reading your article in the Newton paper written last year about Jim. I had no idea you were so good at writing and then I find you have been doing this for some time……..I’m impressed!! The article on 9-11 was beautiful, heartbreaking and stirred many emotions…..thank you for sharing your heart. I’m reading your other blogs and enjoying them!!

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