A few further points on discrimination

John Hatcher's picture

Last week in my address to the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration, I made a few points that warrant a re-run (It has undergone minor revision),

“No matter what someone has spoken over you, no matter what someone has wished for you (like wish you were dead), no matter the prejudices others have fostered on you, a dream – cooking in your soul — has the power to unfetter all of the past and open for you the deep and wide promises of God.

“In 1963 just about two years after my bus incident (referred to in last week’s column), Dr. King submitted to a Q&A in which he said, ‘At 11 o’clock on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic.’

“Yet 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003 — a total of 46 years has come and gone and still 11 to12 on Sundays is still the most segregated hour of the week.

“To get out of this embarrassing mess, we need to employ the word intentionality. Dr. King had dreams but followed them with intentionality. The 11 to 12 hour is still our greatest embarrassment. Consequently we look to Washington, Atlanta’s Gold Dome, ACLU and even the NAACP to address the problems of race and division. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my brothers and sisters, our problem should be addressed from the foot of the cross by all of us.

“We must march into our school houses and insist that our children, white, black, brown, be taught the basic dignity of all human brings and that white and black children calling each other names is totally, absolutely unacceptable. We must teach and demonstrate that no one has the privilege to be comforted by their prejudices or their ignorance.

“Why should black and white Fayette children come home crying not because of a bad grade, but because of a bad remark in the hallways? Yet the need for sensitivity training in our schools goes deeper than race and culture, but to class and economic status. That’s why it is time for uniforms in Fayette schools. We must communicate to our children that it is not what you wear that’s important but the ‘content of your character’ and your brain, not the bling, bling.

“If we have a zero tolerance for violence and potential weapons in school grounds, why can’t we have a zero tolerance for discrimination? Our emergency rooms can take care of wounds of sticks and stones, but words and attitudes crush the human spirit and zap it of its desire to conquer the world of learning.

“How about taking a hunk of the drug seizure money in the sheriff’s vault and teach our children that either red, yellow, black, brown or white, children are precious in God’s sight.”

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kohesion's picture
Submitted by kohesion on Mon, 06/19/2006 - 10:43pm.

Finally, someone who has a clue...

I just moved here from the Washington DC area so I have a little different perspective as "white people" are the minority where I am from.

Most people in this area just don't seem to get it. They would love "black people" to show up at church but they aren't willing to make any changes to promote integration. Black people are welcome as long as they act and dress white. If you want integration in church, YOU have to change first, don't expect them to just show up.

The white people down here are so "white", I can hardly take it. This is supposed to be the bible belt but the church services are so sterile and unobrusive. How about a sermon on something that matters, something that hits home. How about a series of messages on integrating the community?

I notice that anywhere where "black people" congregate is considered "a bad area". "Don't go to TinselTown at night" people told me when I moved here, "It is pretty rough down there". I have been to TinselTown at night many times and I have no idea what they are talking about. I can only assume they are refering to all the "black people" (Lord help us)

Yes, school uniforms are a great idea. Students don't need to proclaim their socio-economic status at school. Maybe "white" churches could start celebrating Martin Luther King Jr day?

Maybe we could work on overcoming our fear problem and learn to let go a little.

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