In my mid-to-late teens, I was into so-called alternative music. The radio station I listened to would play an hour-long show over lunch called The House of Retro Pleasure. They’d play punk, alternative, new wave hits of the 80s in the mid-90s. This is when I first heard and became familiar with a song by U2 called Sunday Bloody Sunday. That was the extent of my familiarity with the phrase Bloody Sunday until some time later.
This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday riots and the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, just a little more than an hour’s drive from my home. There was a massive gathering; somewhere around 80,000 people was what I heard and read in news reports. This march was peaceful. You’re well aware that the original was not. I won’t rehash history, but you all know that people were beaten and bloodied and maimed in that first march. Go back and read that sentence again.
Key word? PEOPLE.
Fellow humans were beaten because they wanted to vote. People just like you and me. People with thoughts and dreams and feelings and families were treated like animals because they dared to think themselves as human.
Now, fast forward to today. Fifty years on. Two thousand fifteen. 2015.
Come on, people. We’re so progressive and inclusive and tolerant nowadays, yet some people are still stuck in 1965. It infuriates me to think that there are other white people who are still so closed-minded, so immature, so filled with hate (despite many of them calling themselves Christians), that we are STILL having to deal with this level of foolishness.
Confession: if I see a shady looking black guy, I’m going to make some evasive moves. Guess what: I’m also going to do the exact same thing if I see a shady looking white guy.
When can we take off the blinders and begin to LOVE one another? Why is there a fraternity in Oklahoma that’s now completely cut off from its university? Because they chose to be ignorant and intolerant fools. Maybe if they chose to get to know black men and welcomed them into their fraternity, they’d realize they might be missing out on some real fun.
I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, but I just know it pisses me off.
When I think back over my life, I remember the little girls I was friends with as I grew up. They weren’t always little white girls that looked just like me. There was Charmaine in the first grade. She was a sweet little girl of Asian descent. We ran and played every day on the playground. In third through fifth grades, I had a friend named LaToya. Wanna know what made us friends? Our phone numbers. Mine was 724-1628 and hers was 724-1678. I didn’t see her as a black girl; I saw her as my friend. She was sassy and dressed cute and always had her hair done up in several cute little pigtails all over her head. Another girl named Sabrina always ran laps with me during PE. When I’d get tired and would want to quit, Sabrina would always encourage me to keep running. In high school there was a guy named LaMacy. He was witty and just a fun guy to be around. He always had a smile and a sarcastic remark that was all in fun. He was that way with everyone, even when people tried to play that ugly race card. As I fast-forward to my adult life, I think of April. April is stylish, always well dressed, has impeccable taste, and brings an unmatched level of beauty and grace to the role of preacher’s wife. Then there’s Kristen, who is a fellow CPST and all-around Super Smart Chick Who’s Going Places. Kristen makes me smile and has the whole package of brains and beauty. There’s also Sherrie. Sherrie is kind, loving, peaceful, and has just the right amount of sass. I’ve never met her in person, but I’ve no doubt that she’d give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. Without the people who risked so much, I might not know these extraordinary people.
A Christian author named Jen Hatmaker had this to say this morning on Facebook:
“What will it take for the majority to finally say: "This is happening." What more do we need to see? What other tragedies will validate what is plainly going on? How many voices of lament must we hear before we hit our knees in solidarity, repent for the shameful systems that built and reinforced racial inequality, and join hands with our minority brothers and sisters and say NO MORE? Hell, a strong first step is simply to say WE BELIEVE YOU.”
Time will tell which side of history we all wind up on. As for me, I want to be on the side of LOVE. When will the majority stand up and say “NO MORE!” God, help ME to say it from today forward.
Red and yellow, black and white.
They are precious in His sight.