Holding out for hope
To the Journal editor:
The last few weeks have been like watching a bad divorce take place in public. Two sides talking past each other that continue to rehash past wrongs with little indication of anyone wanting to compromise and produce any significant change.
One would think that there has been no progress since the abolishment of slavery. A visitor to our country would never guess we recently finished the 8-year presidency of a Black man, the son of a single white mom raised with help by his white grandparents who helped him attend the most exclusive private school in Hawaii followed by an Ivy League education.
But instead, we are cutting off the heads of any and all Confederate generals and demanding the change of any name that has any association with the Confederate south. Even Christopher Columbus can’t keep his head. Who knew that Fort Bragg wasn’t the home to the elite Special Forces of the military, but homage to an obscure Confederate general who owned slaves?
Let’s step back and take a breath. I know that according to the new rules of cultural shaming and outrage, I am as a white man supposed to have no ability to speak or be heard on these topics, but at the risk of being socially and financially ruined I will engage.
Black lives do matter. All should matter. That should be the goal of a free and tolerant society. We are not there yet, but we are moving forward. Most want to do better. A rush to judgment and labeling others has lead to lynchings in our past and destruction and burnings today.
There will be no meaningful change if violence, shouting, and revenge are our only forms of communication. Can we have an honest conversation on race in America? A conversation involves exchange of ideas and listening by all sides.
I need to listen more to the Black man who feels threatened by police and he needs to listen to the white man who wonders why decades of affirmative action, federal spending, and racial quotas have been inadequate. Will you still feel the same when it is you that is passed over for your coveted position or job in the name of affirmative action?
Change can happen, but it will require more than cute Instagram apologies and catchy slogans. I believe in hope and change even if it didn’t work last time around.