You may think you’re winning the battle with a killing here or a hate rally there, but you’re losing the war. Americans are getting increasingly sick, tired and repelled by your vitriolic, creepy, abhorrent prejudices. Your days are as numbered as the president you glorify.
You smirked at the story of the enraged woman with the frenzied dog in New York’s Central Park. She called the police on a bird-watcher — yes, a bird-watcher, that most malicious of creatures — when the man asked her to control the dog. As he videotaped, she snarled. The man asked her to back away and encouraged her to call the cops. She lied, telling them an African American was threatening her and the dog. Fortunately, the film was seen around the world. The woman later apologized, but it was too late. The investment management firm where she worked fired her. The company said it didn’t tolerate racist behavior.
You also surely got all warm and fuzzy after a white Minneapolis police officer on Monday killed a black man in broad daylight by kneeling on his neck. People watched as George Floyd sputtered he couldn’t breathe, but the officer did not relent. Again, fortunately, a bystander recorded what happened. The world recoiled. The officer and three coworkers were fired. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said charges should be brought. “He’d be alive today if he were white,” Frey told reporters. “I’m not a prosecutor, but let me be clear, the arresting officer killed someone.”
Two sad cases just hours apart. At least they were not in the South. But the ghosts of racial injustice continue to haunt and burden, from the Brunswick, Ga., man gunned down three months ago as he was running to the nine worshippers at Emanuel AME Church murdered by a homegrown white terrorist almost five years ago.
Racists, be warned: Your pestilence of hate, fueled by fear, gullibility, disinformation and the need to feel superior, won’t win. It will rot your souls and corrode the joy that almost all people find in life. You’ll fail because decency will prevail.
A congregational pastor fed up with America’s current cauldron of hate shared he believes President Donald Trump has actually done a big favor to Americans. Through continuing inappropriate tweets and indecent behavior, Trump actually lifted the lid on hate that’s been bubbling below the surface and is unknowingly forcing Americans to confront what has lurked in the shadows too long.
“To me, now, all I can do being a white male is not ignore it and to listen for further instructions,” the pastor observed. And he shared a story that illustrates the lengths that non-white Americans too often have to go to keep our of old Jim Crow’s way.
The pastor was working in his yard one evening in rural New York when a driver showed up with a package.
“‘I hate to ask this,’ the man said. ‘But I have my little girl with me and she really needs to go to the bathroom.’
“The man wasn’t from this area. Had no idea at all about me aside from my being white and rural, but he saw a peace flag on the side of our garage. He was a dad, too, and his child had to do what children often suddenly have to do right now.
“My wife showed the two of them into the house while I stayed out on the lawn and scooped up and held in my arms my far-from-vicious little tail-wagger. The girl popped out the door a few minutes later, clutching the simple gift of a cold can of Pepsi, followed by her father. He stopped in the driveway, turned to me and simply said, ‘Hey, thanks, man.’
The pastor paused and reflected, “The ordinary things. We must all rise together to make them just that, everywhere. Everyday. Everyone.”
People will continue to be awful to each other, but it will wane. Evil and hate will lose, just as it did in Nazi Germany. Justice and decency will prevail because Americans will demand it. So racists, fair warning: You’d better get on the right side of the ledger, sooner than later.
Andy Brack is publisher of the Charleston City Paper. Have a comment? Send to: email@example.com