On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020 I believe what I write in this post fully true as well as appropriate. Fact is I would have said the exact same over 30 years ago.
For quite some time my personal email signature includes an MLK quote.
What I’m convinced we need to face is the following.
As they were persecuted Native Americans were either driven or decided to move further away from their persecutors. Ditto for enslaved, then black freemen/women from South to North and many clear to Canada to escape ill treatment. Haven’t people on earth done likewise regardless?
The largest migration in U.S. history was due to Southern blacks moving -when they were able, North to Chicago, New York City, Detroit and elsewhere in order to find better work and to escape the inequity and brutality of Jim Crow laws (note, “laws”).
Though most found work and a measure of solace, they also discovered racism and classism in the North.
In noticing a trend in Michigan the other day I thought about a continuum across our nation and it’s causes as well as blindness, even willful avoidance of truth.
People often move like they vote: our of fear and anger. But what does history honestly tell us about the causes underneath all this?
In the streets, homes, urban and indeed rural areas of the United States there are huge numbers of white folks. I’m a white man. Though it is changing whites are the majority still.
The homeless population is certainly not merely a minority crowd by any means. So how is it typical that those whites not in poverty are often so angry, fearful, judgmental and self righteous when the facts of history clearly establish it was white lawmakers and their government policies who established slavery, Native American genocide and reservations throughout the land they conquered?
Today on the backs of our white ancestors we whites in fear and rage seek to escape the very impoverished urban and indeed rural experience our majority white ancestors created. Please read that last sentence over slowly.
Anger, fear, continuing racism and ignorance are fruits of white domination and exceptionalism. Yes, not only American exceptionalism, white exceptionalism. To this day we have opportunities people of color rarely have and we often elect politicians to help us while any sense of not “standing our ground” means we are creating or maintaining the next impoverished ghetto due to those people who are not like us.
“White flight” from cities to suburbs? We fear reaping what others now suffer from the seeds our ancestors sowed and if un-repented of, which we ourselves plant. It is that fear and anger that propels many a white vote.
One of today’s worst continuing diseases in this foul recipe is the gentrification process where pols placed by the financing of the rich work to upgrade/fix/beautify cities with ever-larger development corporate investment snatching up prime land -and when all-too-often allowed re. the residential issues, low-income housing regularly, literally goes out the window. Equality and equity go with the widows, widowers and generally poor and often minority people who had once called the area home. This is our common, repetitive heritage Americans!
The sad truth is others reap what we sow, not merely ourselves.
Consider, then understand why MLK had to do what he did, say what he said and eventually was murdered for it.
Was he sinless? No more than the white race, governments and laws- including incarceration for people of color that have continued to decimate minority and yes, white poor folk in both urban and rural settings to this very day.
God have mercy on us and cause us to have mercy on those we dislike, are fearful of or even outright hate. The way of Jesus is not the way of the vast majority of our national history.
Critics scream “Revisionist history!” I say what needs to be revised is us.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn