I keep making incorrect assumptions about people in general… I grew up learning American history, about civil rights and segregation, and seeing those pictures from the 1940s and 50s showing those “Whites Only” signs hanging over everything in the southern states. Aside from being completely shocked that people in America actually held these beliefs – even so long ago – I had also just assumed all of that was over and done.
Fast forward to this century…
Three articles stand out for me, from countless hundreds one can find on Google right now:
- In 2012, an Alabama pastor convenes a “Whites Only” pastors conference. He says he isn’t a racist – just that “the white race is God’s chosen people” (source).
- Mississippi ratifies the 13th Amendement passed in 1865 to end slavery – 148 years later, in 2013 (source)
- And just last week, 2013, we find out there are schools in Georgia that apparently don’t see anything wrong with “Whites Only” school dances, lunch or study segregation (source).
How on earth a Christian pastor, a public school facility, and a state government could still, today, support any notion or belief that makes whites (or Christians for that matter) above anyone else is simply mind-boggling. They’ll probably try telling you it’s all about skin color, evolution, and some statistics about black crime – but don’t forget, these were the same folks who hated Irish settlers, white Catholics, Chinese and Jews too.
Today, in 2013, we still have people, institutions and entire states apparently that still support basic discrimination based on how someone looks or what church they attend. In America, this isn’t supposed to be possible – and yet, here we are.
It’s been 148 years since the civil war. 50 years since segregation was officially ended. And yet this racism and religious ignorance, by people who don’t even understand Jesus was a middle-eastern Jew, continue to corrupt our nation’s soul.
How can we, in a free society, rid ourselves of such ignorance? We can already see this stupidity creeping further into our public political discourse and proposed legislation by Tea Party and GOP politicians. We can see modern Christian churches turning ever further back to the Dark Ages and Inquisition. How can we resolve this?
The only answer I can think of is education… But then I read about Wilcox County High School in Georgia, and wonder if even education can make any difference.