I started this blog post about three weeks ago, prior to the events that recently occurred in Charleston, South Carolina where a lone white male attends a church prayer meeting of a Black congregation, kills nine. I will wait patiently for the investigation to hear what was said as he stood to his feet and with Prejudice, Malice, and Hatred began to shoot. There is no doubt this is the worst kind of Prejudice and the worst crime when one kills out of hat for the one’s skin color, religion, or even sexual orientation, which shows that we really haven’t moved beyond the story of Cain and Able over the past 6,000 years.
Ironically, we these events and we scream, cry, and demand justice. However, prejudice behavior is going on around us every day.
Before we begin let’s define the word Prejudice from the dictionary …
” 1) An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. 2) Any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable. 3) an unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.”
I’m amazed today how that we throw this word “Prejudice” around, and accuse others of being prejudice. The conservatives accuse the liberals and vice versa, whites of blacks, rich of the poor, and the list will be a mile long if we continue. We allow experience, perception, and fear to dictate how we respond to individuals that look different, have a different belief system, different religion, or simply a different skin color.
We allow the events of our personal history or an attack or even a perceived attack by a group of individuals of a different ethnic group years ago, either to us personally or someone we know sets the stage for us to be prejudice against an individual or the group throughout our lives. We can be prejudiced of an individual due to their faith, because not of something the individual has done to us but because of something some else of the same faith or religious group has done. I have even begun to notice prejudice response within our own community. I recently spoke with an individual that stated conservative black Politian’s where not worthy of respect because they don’t really support the cause of Black America. An individual was recently accused of having homophobia, because she didn’t support gay marriage.
I personally grew up with prejudice tenses; I think we all have some. Throughout my teens my dad was a retired Air Force Sergeant, and had gone to work for General Motor. It was often hard to watch things happen like individuals with fewer skills are get promoted over this man that had so many skills. It was hard to accept the two list system of the 70’s where two minorities where promoted within the local police and fire department, over others that had scored much higher on the test. Or as a student watching others getting accepted to college with the same grade point average as mine, and other things in the name of Affirmative Action. Now some would immediately say he isn’t prejudice, he is a racist. However, the reality is very far from the truth, I accept and love that scripture verse found in the Holman Christian Standard Bible version that reads: There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
How do we take America and the world back to being able to accept the writing of the Apostle Paul and make prejudice or racism a distant cry in America? I think that there are four major, however, simple steps to accomplish this goal.
1) We need to quite attempting to rewrite history: Sadly, in my family legacy there are things I’m not proud of some of it so ancient that I’m not sure I know the whole story, and some more recent. Whatever the event or legacy that dosen’t define me. We talk about accountability. I’m only accountable for my words, actions, and opinions not what my grandfather said 50 years ago.
2) We tell the radical on all side TO SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP, this goes for the media, to actors/actress, religious extremist on all sides to. We learn to speak for ourselves, or feeling, beliefs, and desires. We don’t allow organization to define us; we share our heart, emotions, and feelings. We don’t allow extremist and activists to tell who to like or not like.
3) We quit demanding everybody believe what we believe. This includes allowing individuals to have their personal religious beliefs. Just because I don’t agree in your life style choices such as, gay marriage, and marijuana should be legal, polemic, or many other beliefs that individuals have. These don’t make me prejudice, my beliefs are based on a well thought beliefs based on my understanding of my Christian beliefs.
4) Time to sit down and have Breakfast, my best friend is Robert. Now let me explain Robert is an African American pastor here in Cincinnati that I have known for over 24 years. And it all started with having breakfast at a Perkins Restaurant all those years ago. Do we always agree? NO, do we always see things the same no. However, one thing is for certain we always talk about it.
When is prejudice going to be eradicated in America, to me it is very simple … When America is willing to sit down at the Breakfast table and talk about feeling, beliefs, and acceptance of others.
Or better yet, when we are ready to sit down at the Lord’s Table and pray, and have communion together. I learned a long time ago, I can’t be prejudice, angry or talking about someone if I’m praying for them and with them.
My heart breaks over the events in Charleston, S.C. I don’t attempt to understand the mind of the attacker, and I believe justice needs to be done. I believe the conversation has to begin, not with the extremist on both side, but at the breakfast table learning to know, love, and compare with each other.