Injustice

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            I believe I have a somewhat unique perspective when it comes to the racial protests and rioting occurring currently. Peaceful protest is a right and privilege given to us by our ancestors and protected by our constitution. The violence is not. However, I feel like I’ve been here before.

            I didn’t understand in the 1960s, when race riots were occurring. Being from an all-white community, I never had any relations with non-white individuals. All I knew was that everyone was supposed to be equal. After all, it had been 100 years since all of that had been solved. I didn’t understand when I heard Dr. King and others speak. He seemed so passionate, but why? When friends, who also had never been with non-whites used the N word or other racial slurs, I didn’t get it. I suppose they were parroting their parents. My parents, being German, and my father also of Jewish decent, knew a little bit about prejudice. I was raised to consider each individual separately.  To this day I am very grateful.

            If you are still reading, consider this. What is the most important commandment? Jesus believed it was to Love God with all you are. The second is to Love you neighbor as yourself. Who is your neighbor?

            When I went to college I was exposed, for the first time, to a variety of cultures. While in the seventies, there was still some tension, it never got bad on campus. I made an amazing discovery. Every person of another race or ethnicity, who I interacted with, through classes, the dorms, socially or sports was unique. Almost everyone with whom I spent significant time, I got along with, and found mutual interests. They were just people, fellow students, trying to better themselves.

            When I got out of college, my first job, as a chemist, was on the south side of Chicago, in a not so nice area. Stores were in cages; fast food was handed through carousels in bullet proofed glass. Murders, street violence, and drugs were not uncommon. Most of our plant was black as was the neighborhood.

I was lucky to find some really great people working there. Some became close friends. They cared about me and I them. We often ate together, went to parties, played sports, and watched games together. They also told me who I could trust, and people and areas I needed to avoid.

People in the neighborhood also treated us well. One day, when another chemist and I hit a few tennis balls at lunch, in a nearby park, a nice older lady brought out some lemonade and talked to us for a while. Another time, when I accidentally plowed my car into a snow drift, a group of kids who were off for a snow day, grabbed shovels and dug me out.

The point is simple; people are people. Some are good, and as my mother-in-law used to say, ‘some must have had a rough life’ (her excuse when people acted badly).

My skin is a little darker than Crystal’s, but I don’t think she holds that against me. Jesus was probably much darker skinned than most pictures depict him. We are all God’s creations. We are all the neighbors we were instructed to love.

No, I didn’t get it fifty years ago, but now I do. Sadly, not enough has changed. But I am ever hopeful. The answer is not in violence or vengeance, but in change of hearts and acceptance. So, continue to peacefully protest injustice, advocate for right and justice, and be tolerant of those who are different but peaceful. Be the good Samaritan. Live and let live.

We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the earth as brothers and sisters. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. Robert Kennedy

A nation divided against itself can not stand.        Abraham Lincoln quoting Jesus

June 6th 2020 Coshocton Ohio Courthouse square – There is hope.
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