Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net
Growing up in the South, I am only one generation removed from racism. When my father said the N-word, I felt an overwhelming sense of shame. Recently I found out that my paternal grandfather was a member of the KKK, and my ancestors were slave owners. I was taught to be afraid of black men because they might harm a white woman. Even in a public place, I remember tensing up anytime I was alone and came in contact with a black male. Today I feel foolish for having unwarranted fear.
Racism originates from xenophobia, which sounds like a contagious disease. The good news is it doesn’t have to spread and can actually be cured and eradicated from society. The vaccine against it is an open mind and a pure heart.
I am so glad that the country has finally come together to admit that the confederate flag is a symbol of hate and racism. In my opinion, the flag is anti-American because it represents a time when half the country rebelled against the democratic government of the United States. The South turned its nose up at the Constitution which states we are all equal in the eyes of the law and God. Still, I acknowledge that we must honor the sacrifice of the men who lost their lives on the battlefield in the deadliest war in our history.
My beliefs come from my Christian faith and are reaffirmed whenever I read the passage from I John 4: 18-21 which condemns fear and talks about perfect love.
My hope is that racism will someday be wiped out so that we can live in unity and all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, have the same opportunities and dreams. Martin Luther King gave a powerful speech where he said, “I have a dream.” I have the same dream that we can live together with love and acceptance in our hearts. There is no room for hate and intolerance.