AFRICANGLOBE – I can remember very well the innocence of my youth and the lessons of civics and citizenship I devoured while in grade school. It could rightly be said that I was a student of history and of government, and it wouldn’t be until age and numerous disappointing experiences tempered my willingness to accept, without question, the philosophies that “made America great.”
There was a time when asked, “What is the MEANING of America?” I would spout with unfettered enthusiasm that freedom was the foundational principle of our national ethos. Like most students who were products of local public education, I saw America, at least in principle, as a country committed to the meritorious evaluation and treatment of all of its citizens.
Freedoms For Some
Unfortunately, it didn’t take too long for me to realize that these touted freedoms and unbiased judgments were meant for those whose complexion was considered White, and not for those of us whose ancestors were held in bondage or who looked like those who were. In fact, without much fanfare and drama, it became easily understood that those who were native, non-White immigrants or female could be denied the professed freedoms that were embraced by the nation with little protest, especially from those in power.
Although evidenced by events long past, the historical legacy of hatred and discrimination in the America refuses to die. Rather than fading into oblivion, there are proponents of this hatred who choose to renew it generationally by planting it into the spirit and psyche of the nation. The evil that we reap from this hatred plagues our peace, disrupts the general welfare and wreaks havoc upon our domestic tranquility.
If we were to honestly evaluate our contemporary history, a better question to ask about our nation might be, “WHY HAS AMERICA BECOME SO MEAN and CRUEL TO SO MANY?” We might also ponder as to how and why so many individuals in policy-making positions, as well as the general public, can be as comfortable or complacent with the level of hatred and mean-spiritedness that we now realize daily.
On both sides of the divide, it seems that the normalization and repetition of racism and sexism have rendered them acceptable elements of our culture. Except for those of us who have a vested interest in freedom and justice for all, the outcomes of this genre of evils such as the death of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis or the institutionalization of a war on economic viability and rights of women mean nothing.
Without sugar-coating it, evidence suggests that the inordinate level of acrimony and gridlock that’s brought our political system to a standstill exists as a primary result of the race of our President. This same attitude winds its way to the Attorney General who is also the recipient of race-based hatred.
The recent Ebola outbreak has generated an increased level of racial animus and a growing undercurrent of isolationism. Many knowledgeable observers remark that rather than serving the elimination of this tragic virus, the misguided call for isolation and restricted travel between the U.S. and African hotspots would be more likely to increase, the impact of the disease.
I believe that to regain the real meaning of America, we must stop the meaning some have when they shout about taking back America.
By: Dr. E. Faye Williams