December 8, 2022

Racism Then, Racism Now

We are all aware of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his untimely death and his fight for Civil Rights. Dr. King led many major non-violent desegregation campaigns and won the Nobel Peace Prize before he was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.
Beginning in 1954, when the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, through 1968, there were at least 40 lives lost and countless men, women children arrested and beaten in the Civil Rights War.
Most were ordinary people such as Elizabeth Eckford, who, in 1957, walked through a mob of cursing, spitting white youth on the first day black children were allowed to attend the previously all-white Little Rock High School, or Ben Chester White, a plantation caretaker who had no involvement in civil rights work. He was murdered by Klansmen who thought they could divert attention from a civil right’s march by killing a black person.
It upsets me to think about these brave people being brutally murdered by my fellow Americans, but what is really bothersome is that this Civil War is not over yet. During a business trip to North Carolina, we were not able to complete all the necessary paperwork by Friday. I had to return to Utah on Tuesday, so I planned to finish the paperwork, get to the bank on Monday, then off to Utah. Monday however, was a day set aside to honor the people killed in a fight for equality: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
It happened the bank we were using did not observe this holiday, which was fine with me. I could make it to Utah on time, making me happy that I would be on the trip home soon. All was coming up roses except for a conversation I overheard while in the bank; a customer was telling a bank employee he was pleased the did not observe that “n—–” holiday. The employee seemed to have the same attitude.
Racism is still a part of life some people in this country. Is astounds me how, in 1992, this type of ignorance still exists. There were those who have voted for David Duke, knowing of his previous involvement with the Ku-Klux Klan. It is incomprehensible to me how this man could ever have been a serious consideration for governor of Louisiana.
People who cling to their racist ideals are dangerous. They are dangerous because they spread a disease that has killed more people than heart disease, drunk driving, cancer and AIDs combined.
I am talking about a disease of the mind we know as hatred. It is dangerous because when I read of the atrocities these people have committed it is hard for me to retain the compassion I fell towards my fellow human. I feel myself wanting to hate them, to retribute against them and I must fight this in my soul, for I will not become like them. I would rather lose my life than live in the fetid pestilence of the mind and soul in which these people exist.
Next time this holiday rolls around, be compassionate, this holiday is not for a dead black man, instead it is for all the people who gave their lives for the FREEDOM OF ALL.

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