An Appeal for Understanding and Reconciliation

Americans have been mired in racial turmoil for weeks now and it seems there is no end in sight.  All sides are beyond upset, but also somewhat blinded by emotion and manipulated by politics.  There are genuine issues at stake, but the looting and rioting have distracted from those issues and the real people affected.  Sadly, the media has obfuscated the debate with highly biased sensationalism and politicians have failed to lead or unite the people.  We are left with endless accusations, irrational solutions, and no one framing a cogent discussion.  The problem is we need a substantive conversation and then meaningful action.

    For the past half century, it seems every few years there is an outrageous incident and then calls for a national conversation on race, but each time there seems to only be politically expedient posturing with no lasting changes.  Then the next time it’s like racism has never come up before, so it’s like we are constantly talking about racism but never making any progress.  Arguably America has made great progress evolving from slavery to bigoted oppression to finally equality.  There are surely exceptions, but most Americans appreciate others for what they do not who they are.  Americans love achievement and admire excellence, so athletes, celebrities, or leaders regardless of color easily attract fans of all colors, so why does it appear we can’t move on?  

    Politics and the polarizing groups grabbing our attention are partly to blame for preventing progress, but we have to stop getting stuck there.  We have to ignore the media and the manipulators and realize there are real people with valid grievances.  Many if not most black Americans are sympathetic to the sentiment “black lives matter” while not really agreeing with the radical group called Black Lives Matter (BLM).  We can argue that the unjust killing of George Floyd is an isolated incident, but we must also recognize black Americans are legitimately sensitive to oppression, persecution, and racism.

    Slavery may be some 150+ years behind us, but in fact racially based discrimination, oppression, persecution, and segregation, have occurred during our lifetimes.  Desegregation didn’t happen until the 1960s, but even since then there have been brutal racist murders of black Americans.  It has only been the past few decades that overt racial slurs have become socially unacceptable, so racism has not yet been relegated to history books – it is still a painful vivid memory for many.  So we must be empathetic to our black neighbors and separate them from the extremist BLM rioters.  But black Americans must recognize BLM does not support our common values and shared interests; and therefore also separate themselves from BLM.  The hard truth is BLM does not seek reconciliation; they advocate for a new segregation.

    Black Americans are invested in this country as much as anyone else.  “Colored Troops” like the Massachusetts 54th Regiment fought valiantly for the Union.  The renowned Buffalo Soldiers helped settle the western frontier.  The Tuskegee Airmen distinguished themselves as venerable fighter pilots in WWII.  Black inventors have contributed much to our country from agricultural developments to traffic lights to blood transfusions and more.  America was built by all Americans; we have a shared interest in this Constitutional Republic to achieve liberty and justice for all.

    If we can get past pop culture, both black and white Americans share the same traditional values.  Both cherish their families and desire a good education for their children; and we all just want a fair opportunity to provide for our families.  All Americans want law and order; we want a safe and secure environment to raise our children.  Hollywood glorifies the gangster rap lifestyle, but black Americans do not want that in their communities.  Like Frederick Douglas, most black Americans believe our Constitution offers the best framework and hope for equality and freedom.  Unlike the leftist lie peddled by the media, patriotism is not an expression of white supremacy; patriotism is colorless.  Americans of all races have nobly served this nation and love this country.

    Actor Terry Crews has faced a severe backlash from the “woke” mob for criticizing BLM, but he was speaking truth to power.  He tweeted:  “If you are a child of God, you are my brother and sister.  I have family of every race, creed and ideology.”  And:  “Defeating White supremacy without White people creates Black supremacy.  Equality is the truth.  Like it or not, we are in this together.”  Despite the media trying to enforce “new speak,” Crews declared the unifying message we all need to hear.  As children of God, we must work together.  The politicians, pundits, and rioters will not heal our nation.  Average black and white Americans can understand each other in our neighborhoods when we know each other.  We must come together to reconcile our communities.  Let’s act and pray together to make us one nation under God.

    “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”  Hebrews 12:14

Pete Riehm is the host of Common Sense Radio heard 8pm every Thursday on FMTalk106.5 or streaming at fmtalk1065.com.  Email him at [email protected] or on Twitter @PeteRiehm or visit http://peteriehm.com.

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