Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fun Day!

After church this morning I went to lunch at Yen Ching Restaurant in Tacoma on South Tacoma Way with Pastors Pat and Nils Leksen. What a treat!  We had a great visit and a great meal!

I also met with a woman whose civil rights-era experiences as a young black child in the deep South during the 50s and 60s were horrendous and historic.  I'm going to be collaborating with her to get her story into print. Pastor Pat put me in touch with her and am I ever glad!  It's going to be an amazing book.  She remembers seeing John Lewis (now a Congressman) with his head wrapped in bandages after some thugs almost beat him to death during their freedom walks. 

I was just a kid then, living in the Pacific Northwest (an almost totally-white world at the time). The only blacks I knew then were my wonderful Sunday School teacher and her son Walter, so I was completely comfortable with black people and totally unaware of the undercurrent of racism that enveloped the continent.

All that changed for me the summer  southern police officers were shown on TV turning police dogs and firehoses loose on black men, women and children.  Stunned, I asked my mom, "What country is that happening in?!!!" When she told me it was OUR country, I was flabbergasted and angry.  So I well remember the struggles my friend endured... albeit from afar.  Watching TV that summer turned me into a Kennedy Democrat and a progressive! 

So it's going to be an honor -- and difficult -- to revisit those times with my new friend. I'll learn more about her grandparents who endured slavery and the tearing apart of children from mothers and fathers... the lynchings... the whole gamut.  It will become more than a distant, remembered outrage to me. I don't think I will sleep much while helping with her book (editing). I do know it's important that her story be told, both as an example of how far a nation can travel in 60 years and why we're still saddled with racism that needs to be expunged. 

I think much of the vitriol levied against Obama is racist in nature. When I was calling voters during his campaign, numerous people proclaimed, "I will never vote for a black man."  WOW!

The underbelly of racism has not been ripped out and won't disappear until more old people die (not all old people are racist -- a lot of white people joined the freedom marches and lost their lives doing the right thing) and the younger ones are educated and exposed to mutually-respectful and honorable cultural diversity.

The back of racism is being broken, slowly but surely. And since people of color will become the majority by 2050 (already are in several states), it's high time it happened. I just pray the new majorities won't treat whites the way whites treated them when they were in the minority -- or even we "innocent whites" are going to be paying for majority rule intolerance and perversity for a very long time.

Am I afraid of that happening?  Maybe a little. And maybe with good cause. A guilty conscience does that to people. And yes, innocent whites do have guilty consciences -- at least I do because of the way so many whites treated blacks for centuries! I think our consciences are supposed to indict and convict us. That's what God put it there for -- so we could choose to repent and seek forgiveness for looking the other way for so long...

We all need to treat each other with love and respect.

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