Saturday, June 19, 2021

(253) Juneteenth: Reconciliation, Racial Equality, Racial Harmony, and Racial Justice.....But Not With the Fist

AMDG


Reconciliation, Racial Equality, Racial Harmony, and Racial Justice, but not with the fist!

    It was June 19, 1865. Two months had passed since General Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9,  marking the end of the Civil War.  On paper all slaves were free. However, there were still holdouts in Texas who refused to free their slaves and at least make them paid sharecroppers. Finally, the union army freed them. Thus we celebrate Juneteenth Day, recently passed by Congress with a large bipartisan majority and signed by President Joe Biden, that commemorates the liberation of the last slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865.

    The Catholic Church Under Pope Paul III was among the first to condemn slavery of any sort in 1537 particularly in the New World. Only recently has slavery become illegal in every country of the world. For a timeline since the sixth century B.C. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_abolition_of_slavery_and_serfdom.

        Slavery is a huge blot upon our history. But let us also remember that 360,000 whites of the Union Army died to abolish slavery. However, the fist symbolizes  violence and that is not the way to go nor will the so called critical race theory solve any problems because it breeds bitterness among blacks rather than reconciliation. Yes, we should feel guilty as a nation, but to say that we are a racist society is not true, although there certainly are vestiges of racism that remain among some people and must be eliminated through education and promotion.

    Slavery became an institution in the United States. We are paying for that great collective sin, (perhaps analogous to the original sin of Adam & Eve that every newly born child bears until Baptism) in the racial unrest and strife that we have today. We ask for forgiveness. There's no other way to achieve reconciliation and racial harmony.

Barack Obama 44th President of the United States (2009-2017)

   Blacks have come such a long way since 1963 when I was the officer in charge of a bus of army reservists heading to North Carolina from Baltimore for summer training. I refused to have the troops eat at any restaurant that would not serve all of my men including a handful of blacks. I made sure that everybody eats or nobody eats. After a couple of restaurants refused to serve our black soldiers, I finally found one that did accept all of us.


Dr. Ben Carson

    Indeed 75 years ago it was only a dream that a black man would become President of the United States, that Dr. Ben Carson would become a renowned neurosurgeon and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump Administration. That Clarence Thomas would become a Supreme Court judge, succeeding another black Supreme Court judge......Thurgood Marshall who served from 1967 to 1991.

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

    That Four Star General Colin Powell would become Secretary of State to President George W. Bush. In the same Republican administration Condoleezza Rice succeeded him and is currently Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. That Susan Rice would become Ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration.

Four Star General Colin Powell

     That only recently Elaine Bryant, a black woman would be named police chief of a major American city, Columbus, Ohio.  She is responsible for 1,900 police officers.  Police Chief Bryant was chosen for her experience in community relations, emergency preparedness, strong administrative background as well as investigative and proactive policing while Deputy Police Chief of Detroit and previously commander of the city’s major crimes unit.  Bryant promised inclusion and equity for all. Mayor Andrew Ginther lauded her experience, sound judgment, empathy, and a commitment to community policing.

Columbus, Ohio Police Chief Elaine Bryant

    That so many blacks have served in both the Trump and the Biden administrations, both conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats not to mention mayors of large cities, governors, senators, and congressmen. There are many blacks who have become lawyers, medical doctors, priests (even canonized saints), teachers, college professors, obtained PhDs, achieved the highest ranks in the military, started their own businesses, etc.  For an extensive list of black billionaires, go to 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_billionaires.


See also the article, "29 Notable African Americans Who Helped Change the World" at https://6abc.com/black-history-month-notable-african-americans-most-influential-famous-people/5888312/.

  

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas   

    Since overcoming the color barrier, blacks have dominated football and basketball while also doing very well in other sports such as baseball, soccer, golf, and tennis.  At one time black major league baseball managers, black pro football head coaches and black quarterbacks in the National Football League were unheard of.  That has certainly changed.

Condoleezza Rice
      Despite racism and segregation blacks have done well in the military, gave their lives, and fought valiantly in World War II, ---as for example the famed Tuskegee Airmen which included three squadrons---, all for the freedom of whites and blacks alike in our wars over the last 160 years.

A few of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. Black families were more solid then, helping them to excel despite segregation.

    They did it and every black kid in the country can be successful, but that means not depending upon welfare checks (unless desperate and only temporary), not being bitter, but study with remedial tutoring when necessary, hard work, both parents helping their kids to be successful in school and staying out of trouble.  Dr. Ben Carson and other blacks have been preaching that for years.  

    Joining a church and being active in it at least every Sunday is very conducive to family stability and keeping the children as well as us all on the straight and narrow.  Solid nuclear families are indispensable if not a prerequisite for black success.  Nevertheless, despite the odds, his single mother heroically helped and inspired Dr. Ben Carson to be a great success.

Susan Rice

        The Effects of Abortion......as of 2018 there have been about 63.1 million abortions since the Roe v Wade decision legalizing the procedure in 1973. The abortion rate for black women (25.1 per 1000 pregnancies) is four times the rate for white women (6.6) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7436774/). In 2018 of the 619,591 abortions, 39% were white; 34% were black; and 20% were Hispanic. Using the same percentages, gives an estimate of 24.6 million white abortions, 21.5 million black abortions, and 12.6 million Hispanic since the Roe v. Wade Decision.  Would the number of black success stories have been much higher were it not for the evils of abortion, notwithstanding the poorer socioeconomic conditions of black women?  

    Without abortion the black population would have increased by 48% from the current 44.5 million to 66 million or an increase from 13.4% to 19.8% of the total population.  Isn't that collective genocide by choice?  Baby black lives matter too.  The data was taken mainly from the CDC and the Guttmacher Institute.  


      We as a nation must make sure that minorities have equal opportunity. At the same time, blacks must study and work hard to qualify for the best jobs. The civil rights laws must be enforced and to a large extent they are.  Anyone who feels discriminated against in hiring or in treatment in the work place can sue through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1967.  See https://www.eeoc.gov/federal-sector/filing-formal-complaint.

       Attitudes. In the early 1990s I spoke to a black African and also to a black American. The black African unencumbered by the baggage and heritage of racism stated: “I trust a white until he shows me otherwise”. The black American frankly said: “I don't trust a white until he shows me otherwise”. An attitude of suspicion makes reconciliation difficult.  

    Unfounded and irrational fear due to ignorance rather than hate is a major component. Even my own mother, a top dentist, was afraid to work on black patients.  Should I cancel my dearest mother?  We must learn to trust even if there might be some risk at least at the initial stages of the relationship.

 Sometimes there is oversensitivity and understandably so.  Racism has wounded generations of blacks; naturally such painful wounds and even scars are very sensitive.  At the same time whites can be very insensitive without even realizing it.  Back in the early 1980s I taught a course in Quantitative Methods in the graduate program of business at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.   After the three hour evening class, I gave special help to several students, one of whom was a black woman.  Since she needed more help, I tutored her last so that I could give this student unlimited help without worrying about the time.  I received good student evaluations, but the black woman accused me of being prejudiced.  I felt bad about it and could not understand why until years later.  I realize now that I should have been more sensitive and simply told her why I was helping her last.    

    The Cancellation Craze. George Washington owned slaves; so did Thomas Jefferson and other early presidents.  (see (207) THE FOUNDING AMERICAN IDEALS & RIGHTS BETRAYED: FROM SLAVERY TO ABORTION.......May we make the ideals of our founding fathers a reality in our businesses, communities, and ultimately in our nation

http://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com/2018/04/207-founding-american-ideals-rights.html). 

    Many of the founding fathers owned slaves. They rationalized justifications, even thinking that enslaving them was civilizing, bringing them the faith, and thus improving their lives as long as the owners treated them well. They were wrong, but were they evil? They were in a sense victims of the culture and mentality of the times. Does that excuse them? No, but does that justify toppling every statue honoring them? We can still recognize the good that they have done and forgive them as we ask God's mercy to forgive us.

    Many if not most great historical figures had significant flaws because they are human........John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and even the great King David of the Old Testament among others. Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).  

    It's too easy to judge historical figures based upon what we know now and learned from the mistakes of the past. If we had lived in that era, would we have thought as we do today? The movie, “Gods and Generals” explores the motivations of the protagonists on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line in the great Civil War (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqVVDgPrxOU). Both sides deeply believed that their cause was right, heroically fought, and prayed to the same God for guidance and victory.

    Many of the founders realized that slavery was wrong; they wanted to do something about it, but realized that the southern states would not have joined the union if the Constitution had asserted that all men and women had the right to be free. Southerners really believed that their economy and their good life depended upon the institution of slavery. Thus the founders decided to kick the can down the road, letting future generations deal with it. We as a nation dearly paid for that sin and are continuing to reap the consequences to this day.

    Let's educate our children to realize that there still is racial injustice and they must do their part to change it.  At the same time they should realize how much progress we have made. Martin Luther King, I think, would agree.  He would have never approved of the violence we had last summer when even black owned businesses were looted.  Pray that it does not repeat this summer.

       Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a body of legal scholarship and an academic movement of civil-rights scholars and activists in the United States that seeks to critically examine U.S. law as it intersects with issues of race and to challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_race_theory.

  To study the negative effects of racism on economic opportunity, housing segregation, quality of education, criminal justice, social mores, the culture of the country, its laws and government policy in order to correct the situation is healthy.  But to harp on all of the negative effects of racism as injustice and oppression by a privileged white class, portraying the situation as hopeless while ignoring black success stories and the great progress that has been made is dangerous.  That approach can encourage hopelessness, helplessness, and bitterness, which discourage effort while breeding crime, violence, and racial strife.     

    Police brutality is real........white on white, white on black. In 2020 a very high 895 persons were shot to death by police officers.......457 whites, 241 blacks, 169 Hispanics, and  28 others (see 

https://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-race/)Out of the 800,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, some bad eggs are unavoidable.  With better selection and better training that number can be minimized. Law enforcement is not bashing heads. Rednecks must be weeded out and never hired in the first place. In a tense situation when his own life is on the line, a police officer may overreact and make a grave mistake in using lethal force. Thus constant training to defuse tense situations without the need for excessive force is essential.

     Blacks must be recruited for the police force in proportion to the minority population in the area. Currently 12.4% of police officers are black while 13.4% of the population of 332 million is black. More neighborhood policing is necessary where police officers and the people work together in an atmosphere of trust.  Bicycles and scooters could be valuable tools. Of course, this is no easy task.  

    Invariably when a person, white or black, is killed in a confrontation with police, he resisted arrest.  We must educate every citizen to cooperate when arrested. Allow the justice system to work as it is designed. Every day police officers risk their lives to maintain order and protect us. In 2020 alone 366 police officers were killed in the line of duty. Let's appreciate the great work of the 99% of the police force who are competent and dedicated to serve the community. Defunding the police can only make it worse for all of us. The subsequent increase in crime is inevitable and automatic.

    Let us remember the words of the great Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” With the help of God we can achieve that dream and we are little by little. 

    Diversity shows the beauty in God's creation. Diversity and different ways of thinking breed creativity as in organizational work teams. Hearts don't change overnight, but we must continue to strive for racial justice. Hear and read the text of his epic speech in its entirety at https://www.npr.org/2010/01/18/122701268/i-have-a-dream-speech-in-its-entirety.  Let us all strive together to achieve that dream.

        The key to reconciliation is forgiveness which derives from Christian love.  We must forgive each other; the excess baggage of racism in resentment, hostility, and hate can destroy all of us.  Christian love, a genuine concern for the good of the other, can renew the nation and all of us.  

    Let us recall the words of reconciliation of Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address as the great Civil War was drawing to a close: "With malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wounds......." (See the Appendix for the complete text).  

      After all, scars of racism with its roots in slavery remain and wounds are still healing albeit many times reopened.  Although we have largely achieved political reconciliation between the free states and the slave states, reconciliation in regard to the bitter wounds of racism is very much a work in process.  Let us pray for God's help and strive to achieve it.    


APPENDIX


Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address March 4, 1865

"Fellow countrymen: at this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends is as well known to the public as to myself and it is I trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

"On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it ~ all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place devoted altogether to saving the Union without war insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war ~ seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

"One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves not distributed generally over the union but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered ~ that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses for it must needs be that offenses come but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which in the providence of God must needs come but which having continued through His appointed time He now wills to remove and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him. Fondly do we hope ~ fervently do we pray ~ that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'

"With malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan ~ to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

See https://www.nps.gov/linc/learn/historyculture/lincoln-second-inaugural.htm for a reenactment of this historic speech. 


 

 





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