After my rant last Friday on “Apathy and Ignorance”, I thought I could put my soapbox away for a while. That is what I thought, but I was wrong. Let me set the scenario for you. On Sunday I attended Sunday morning mass at a small church on the eastern side of the City. This is an integrated church with blacks and whites commingling as one congregation, as it should be. There is no apparent separation of the races as blacks and whites sit side by side in the pews, as blacks and whites extend the sign of peace to one another, as blacks and whites join hands and sing The Lords Prayer together, and as blacks and whites walk up to receive communion together, and that is as it should be. However, what happened at the beginning of this Sunday’s service is not as it should be. Here is what happened.
After the opening hymns were sung a lady approached the lectern. I do not know what, if any, her official title is, so I will call her the announcer. The announcer took the podium and began to tell us that this was National Black Catholic History Month. I have no problem with that. I think it is commendable for any group to take pride in their culture and ethnicity. I do, however, have a problem with an individual telling me why people of color are better at being catholic than I am and then reciting various statistics to prove their point. What was the point of this. Was it supposed to make me love my black brethren more because he is a better catholic than I? Was it supposed to make the two groups more cohesive? It did not. It served two purposes. It made me uncomfortable, and it inspired me to write this article. I truly believe if we are to ever bridge the racial divide we need to stop pointing out our differences and we need to start accentuating our similarities. After all, are we not all members of the human race.
It is my opinion that labels are problematic and serve no useful purpose, most of the time. I realize sometimes, for the sake of better identifying an individual, when making a better identification is important, using a racial label is necessary. But not always and not in all circumstances. Consider this. How often have you seen a headline that reads something like “White cop kills black man”. The news is that a police officer used deadly force. The news is not that the officer was white or the recipient of the deadly force was black. This headline has one purpose, to sensationalize an event. The story can be told just as well without the need to point out the ethnicity of the parties involved. Why do we always see references such as “So and So, a black man, said so and so? Is the label necessary. I think a first step in racial healing might be to stop pointing out how we are different. How we are different in our physical appearance does not really matter at all. What matters is the humanism of the person. I think we should all be racists, and our prejudice should be for the human race.
I realize this all sounds like pie in the sky. I realize we will not bridge the racial divide simply by eliminating the labels in what we say and what we think. But I also realize it could be a step in the right direction and I think it is something worth considering. That is what I think, what do you think?
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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