Created Equal: The Painful Past, Confusing Present
ALMOST ANYONE ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM from the far left to the
far right would probably agree with you that our country is in serious trouble and the divisiveness threatens not only peace, but our very existence. One of the areas of contention surrounds the concept of racial relationships.
This topic has taken center stage and serves as a linchpin for the argument that America is and always has been a racist nation.
As a result, we find ourselves in a situation where race is injected into an enormous number of our conversations. If not challenged, this premise of racial division fuels the easy—and wrong—conclusion that America is the worst place for Blacks and other minorities to live.
It is very disturbing that Black youth are being taught that they are inherently disadvantaged in our society and that no matter how hard they work these disadvantages will persist and preclude the realization of their potential. Equally as harmful is the pernicious indoctrination of white students, who are being taught to feel guilty about racially motivated injustices perpetrated by their ancestors. It is hard to imagine how teaching our children these divisive concepts can lead to a fairer and more peaceful society.
Yet, all hope is not lost. I have seen tremendous positive changes in our society during my lifetime. My uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a prophet and a preacher. Quoting from the Scripture in Acts 17:26–28, MLK acknowledged that God created one blood/one human race. He said: “What I’m saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, ‘America, you must be born again!’ Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout, ‘White Power!’ When nobody will shout, ‘Black Power!’ but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power.”
After his death, MLK, notably as either a most loved or most hated public figure, became the first Black American after whom a national holiday was named. It’s hard to imagine how that would happen in a systemically racist nation.
Yet this is not to say that we have not experienced severe racism in America during just this last century. We also cannot deny that racist principles have been inserted into our building blocks. For me, this reality marks a “wheat and tares” situation that must be weeded out with faith, hope, love, integrity, and intelligence—in every generation and every decade.
As William Cullen Bryant said, “Truth crushed to earth shall rise again.” While this quote is credited to Cullen Bryant, and remains an inspiration to many, we may agree that Jesus says it best: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32 ESV).
Through the years here in America, we have witnessed and, in some cases, experienced situations where Black people were relegated to the back of the bus or to separate railway cars and such treatment was enforced by legal authorities. Such practices have been tares in the foundations of our history.
Many have seen and, in some cases, experienced numerous situations where public and private services were refused for Black customers. We have seen and, in some cases, are still experiencing unfair lending practices and housing discrimination and segregation that has been enforced by unscrupulous legal authorities. While the list goes on and on, these are inherent tares in our system that can and must be weeded out.
Rather than dwell on these “tares” and complain about how unfair they were, and, in some cases, still are, we must build on the truth that many of these injustices have been largely defeated and relegated to the dustbins of history. In acknowledging the defeat of many racist policies in America, we must remember the lessons that have been learned: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
While not resting on any laurels, we must build upon the progress that has been made, decade by decade, generation by generation.
As one who is not just “talking the talk,” Dr. Carson is “walking the walk” with us. He is throwing down a gauntlet. America, we have a choice to make. Do we harp and complain and cause disruptions because of the things that have happened in the past? Or do we build on the foundation of righteousness, truth, and justice, with the goal of defeating the horrible injustices of America’s past?
The pathway of vengeance leads to further conflict and hatred. The path of truth with corresponding action leads to reconciliation and to further progress. Which side are we on? Please do not misconstrue what you read in this book to mean that we think racism is a thing of the past. Racism is alive and, in far too many instances, well today. As a result, we must continue to strive to obliterate racism in our society, in every decade and generation. Ignoring the tares, or resting on our laurels, would be a great disservice to our predecessors of all ethnic communities who sacrificed so much, including in some cases their lives to improve our society.
Why do we usually cheer for our sports team, regardless of the ethnic composition, over the team of our rivals, regardless of the ethnic composition? Does our behavior say something about how truly unimportant ethnicity is in the overall scheme of things? Is there any good thing that comes from the increasing racial animosity and division that is being cultivated by so many in our society today?
There is much confusion in America over race today because we haven’t caught up with the scientific and spiritual truth: There is only one human race; skin color can denote ethnicity, not race.
In the past, and sadly sometimes here in the twenty-first century, we really don’t have enough social interaction among human ethnicities. When we don’t know each other, how can we reconcile as the human race?
When we turn a blind eye to the God-created gifts of ethnicity, including not just skin color but all of the cultural variations, we allow space for division among our communities.
Then the door opens for confusion, with certain people telling us that we are enemies, dividing us by the color of our skin. Today, why are we allowing our children to be pitted against each other and why are we tolerating people destroying neighborhoods that have been built by years of blood, sweat, and tears, based upon division by skin color, all in the name of racial equity?
Yet, hope is not lost. Do not despair because, as they say, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” As this book will show, we the American people are not each other’s enemies and with humility and caring for each other, from the womb to the tomb, the God-created and hopeful principles that established America will prevail.
Dr. Alveda C. King is the daughter of the late slain civil rights activist Rev. A. D. King and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a Christian evangelist. Alveda is also a former Georgia state legislator, a college professor, a two-time presidential appointee, and a 2021 recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.
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