Freedom Is Never Free

Every time I get despon­dent about the way things are I am buoyed by the kind­ness and the good­ness of ordi­nary peo­ple, good and decent peo­ple who some­times place their lives on the line when they did­n’t have to.
People who extend them­selves gra­cious­ly in cir­cum­stances and at times when it would have been easy and con­ve­nient to sim­ply stand aside, they step for­ward in times of trou­ble and tur­moil for oth­ers who do not look like them, do not live where they live, do not wor­ship in the same church.

Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.

It is so easy to be neg­a­tive about the things we see hap­pen­ing around us racial­ly, not that we should­n’t be vig­i­lant but I have always sought to remind those I come in con­tact with that deep down we are all God’s peo­ple regard­less of our skin col­or.
Like the myr­i­ad species of fish in the great big Oceans, the cor­nu­copia of dif­fer­ent flow­ery hues in a mead­ow, Black peo­ple, White People, Brown peo­ple are all God’s chil­dren in the mead­ow of life.

Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner trav­eled from Meridian, Mississippi, to the com­mu­ni­ty of Longdale to talk with con­gre­ga­tion mem­bers at a church that had been burned. The trio was there­after arrest­ed fol­low­ing a traf­fic stop out­side Philadelphia, Mississippi, for speed­ing escort­ed to the local jail and held for a num­ber of hours.[1] As the three left town in their car, they were fol­lowed by law enforce­ment and oth­ers. Before leav­ing Neshoba County their car was pulled over and all three were abduct­ed, dri­ven to anoth­er loca­tion, and shot at close range. The three men’s bod­ies were then trans­port­ed to an earth­en dam where they were buried.[wikipedia]

Chaney the young black man was under­stand­ably fight­ing for the rights and dig­ni­ty of blacks includ­ing him­self, Goodman, and Schwerner did not have to care, they did not have to offer them­selves to change the arc of injus­tice, they did not have to give their lives but they did.

The sys­temic abuse and the dehu­man­iz­ing treat­ment Black Americans faced for over four hun­dred years which cul­mi­nat­ed in the Civil Rights strug­gles of the 1960’s, did not go away when President Lyndon Johnson signed the land­mark 1964 Civil Rights Act into law.
Black Americans sim­ply got fat and lazy, sim­ply put, African-Americans began an unprece­dent­ed slide into a sense of immoral­i­ty and las­civ­i­ous behav­ior which evis­cer­at­ed the gains made by the great­est gen­er­a­tion which marched and died in the strug­gles of the 60’s.

Black Americans for­got one lit­tle thing, the fight was not over.
Today there are no black lead­ers, no black lead­er­ship orga­ni­za­tions which have not been com­pro­mised by the behav­iors I out­lined above or which haven’t been ren­dered use­less by covert intel­li­gence activ­i­ties.

So is this rea­son to give in to despair, are we at a point where we all go to our indi­vid­ual cor­ners in this tire­some and seem­ing­ly exis­ten­tial racial back and forth?
Do we cow­er in fear as racial ani­mus raise its ugly head, do we with­draw from our broth­ers and sis­ters who look dif­fer­ent­ly than we do now that the putrid stench of hate has been giv­en fer­tile soil in which to grow?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr

I say no!
I am always hope­ful about the future, not just about the things which are record­ed in his­to­ry and seared into our psy­ches like the killing of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, but in the lit­tle things which are easy to miss.
People like Miss Imoudio, my dear­ly depart­ed son’s grade school teacher who turned up at his funer­al-ser­vice years after he had left her care and was a third-year col­lege stu­dent.

She cared about her stu­dents so she turned up to offer com­fort. Miss Imoudio just hap­pen to have white skin.
It is peo­ple who work at the Bank I use, peo­ple who left their jobs when they did not have to, to come and offer their hugs and words of com­fort to my fam­i­ly and me in our dark­est hour.
It gives rise to the kind of hope for­mer President Obama speak about, the hope which comes from meet­ing peo­ple who are total­ly dif­fer­ent who would give you the clothes off their backs.

It’s my many friends who sat me down and gave me advice as I ven­tured out into busi­ness, [men, and women who just hap­pen to be white] which gives me hope that this prob­lem which seems so insur­mount­able at times will not over­whelm us all.

No, racism and big­otry are not going away, it is human nature to crave one-up-man­ship.
Those with pow­er nev­er give that pow­er up, we use what­ev­er tools we have at our dis­pos­al to jus­ti­fy igno­rance and bad behav­ior.
It’s impor­tant that we do not lose hope amidst the noise and recrim­i­na­tions, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that we were all cre­at­ed by the same God even when we strug­gle to believe it.

The strug­gle for civ­il rights and human dig­ni­ty is a gen­er­a­tional strug­gle. Young men and women who marched with torch­es in Chorletsville Virginia shout­ing Nazi slo­gans were not born racist big­ots.
They learned those behav­iors from those around them, usu­al­ly par­ents, close rel­a­tives, and peers. It is impor­tant that those who push back against that kind of big­otry and hatred must also learn the strate­gies and meth­ods which are nec­es­sary to ensure that good pre­vails over evil.