[(Dear Friends, this writing concerns Racism. So, I shared this with one of my closest black friends Larry Dillingham, whom is also a mentor. To make sure we can work together on these issues. He encouraged me to publish these thoughts, as a help to everyone in finding “common ground” to work through these matters)].
Black and White thoughts today regarding racism.
I have worked very hard to have a heart and mind that loves and appreciates people of all backgrounds. Yes worked. It is not easy in the heated context of the topic of racism, to have clear, clean thoughts on the subject.
I am very concerned that amidst the heated tensions going on in our world. Many people are afraid to speak their thoughts and mind. I will not let fear control my life. So here goes some personal thoughts on the s6ubject, because I care and have concerns about it.
I am blessed with a multitude of.conscientious, caring and admirable friends. Many of my closest friends are black and I love them deeply and treasure their friendship. We get together one on one and help each other. I share many laughs and many tears with all my friends, white or black. I will fight for my friends and go out of my way to be a blessing to them. I seek to be devoted and loyal to all my .closest friends, regardless of color, culture or differences.
Since early childhood, I have had black & white people in my life that I loved and cared for. Both my wife’s mother Helen and A wonderful black lady, Ruth Ensley: helped mother take care of our home and a very rambunctious little white boy (me). While mama was in her beauty shop downstairs, she had to have help upstairs in the home and with me. Helen and Ruth were like second mothers. Like Helen and Rick Smith, Ruth and her husband “Toots” were always close friends to our family. I was just as close to both. When the Ensley’s passed; It broke my heart. My point, I was taught to love all people the same.
Being born in 1959, I lived right through the turmoil of the 60s as a child. But I didn’t understand it. Because there was never any prejudice in my home. There was social conditioning but not prejudice. Example of social conditioning? It seems like acceptable and mutually respectable language has changed about every 10 years, since I was a boy, about what’s proper & improper, acceptable & unacceptable, for instance.
My father had all kinds of friends. His philosophy was simple. He treated each man individually. He never judged a man harshly, unless that man mistreated him. Dad would fight for you, if you did him right, especially if you were an underdog. And if you did him wrong, my dad would take on anybody, regardless of perceived social standing. Everybody got the same chance With My Father. And he raised us to be that way also.
I remember my first public inter-racial experiences when segregation ended,. Black children joined us at elementary school. These were good experiences for me. Believe it or not I was a very small child, who didn’t have a growing spurt until I was about 14 years old. Therefore, I got picked on a lot, as a boy. I will never forget, when a larger white boy about twice my size attacked me on the steps in Colonial Drive School. A friendly black girl, got in between us and knocked the boy down the steps, to prevent him from bullying me. Boy was I thankful for her. (( I remember it well enough, I could still name names but won’t. ))
Then for the next few years, I had some good and some reverse discrimination experiences, where I was prejudiced against because I was white. For instance, I was attacked and got into a fight in High School, just because I went into a part of the school that was segregated, even though the school was supposed to be desegregated. I was jumped, just because I “didn’t belong,” in a certain part of the school.
Then, as I became a young adult, experiences in the workplace revealed really nasty attitudes from white and black people, for each other. These hurtful experiences made long-lasting marks on me and others.
So by my late teens and early twenties, I sensed feelings, I thought could grow into wrong attitudes inside me. I fought this concern. I knew I wanted right attitudes, regarding racial equality. So, to keep negative experiences from causing unwanted prejudice in me. I begin to seek out more and deeper black friends. I wanted to admire, trust and get closer to more people of other races. I did this successfully. So the negative experiences that happened to me, would not cause me to be prejudiced in my thinking and living. I couldn’t stand the thought. As a result, I developed many wonderful and lifelong black friends. Don’t get me wrong. Just like I didn’t always do good back then, with white friends, I didn’t always do good with black friends. I got in trouble, scrapes & mischief with all my friends. But in time, most of us grew up and got more healthy and wholesome, in our lives and activities. Anyway, Wherever they are and whatever they do, I have black and white friends that I will love lifelong dearly and would fight for, fiercely.
So to make and keep all kinds of good friends. I work for tolerance, acceptance and the Golden Rule, to rule my life and heart, regardless of the background of the person I’m dealing with. I don’t accept racism and oppose it, even when around others who practice it. But honestly; some of the things going on in our society today are so unhealthy, that they truly are right and wrong issues, not black and white issues.
Had I been there at the scene when the horrible wrong was done to George Floyd after he was already subdued. I believe I would have first vocally interceded and then tried to physically stop him from being injured. Even at the cost of my own welfare. I cannot stand the thought of social inequity in our society and truly want all men and women to be treated equally, under the law. However, some of the reactions to this terrible event are nearly as horrid, as the event itself.
Regardless of your color or persuasion, I’m not going to shoot you, burn down your house or business, loot from your property, steal your things, nor attack you, unless it’s necessary to defend myself or others, that I love… I practice non-violent behavior. Yet, I’m also not going to become afraid to express my concerns and thoughts. And that is one of my biggest concerns right now. Many good people are afraid to speak out and say what’s on their mind. I know many people that are terrified to speak their mind. I will not be one of them.
Most of you that know me. Know that I do not speak out on political issues at all and have not for years. I am this way, because I want to be able to reach men and women for Christ, whether they are on the left or the right. But many issues today are not about politics. They are about human decency. They are about Law and Order. They are about the safety of our society. And they are about the preservation of all of our constitutional rights. So, I say these concerns to you, no matter whether you are black or white, left or right. I am morally aghast at the Silence of some people, just like I am the loudness of others.
I am just a small town country preacher, karate teacher and outdoorsman. And my little voice may not matter at all. But I will not be shoved in a corner and made to be quiet. Correction. I may be shoved in a corner and silenced but not without a fight.
It horrifies me that there was ever a time in America where black people were treated as second-rate Citizens and not given equal rights. All men and women should be treated as brothers and sisters in our Human family. It is horrible, that anyone has ever been enslaved in our country. I will fight you, if you do not treat my black brothers and sisters, as well as I expect you to treat me!
I say this to: Black men and white men. It horrifies me that in the name of racial equality, basic principles of liberty and justice that have held us together as Americans are now being sought to be replaced, by the heinous monster of communism. I will fight you, if you try to take my flag and freedoms from me!
You may kneel at our flag if you want. That is an American privilege. But do not try to stop me from standing. That flag grants you and I the privilege to disagree with each other but to do so, as men that respect each other, not as enemies who hate each other.
As I read today about the passing of John Lewis who fought for the freedoms and privileges that should be granted all men, especially black. I am thankful and glad for the men and women, whom have liberated us from the tyranny of Oppression and the bondage of slavery. And whether it was the Jews by the Egyptians, or the blacks by the whites, in early colonial America. I hate, detest and despise all forms of slavery against any and all Races. I am a Quaker in many ways at heart and will fight for your freedoms and Liberties, regardless of your culture or background. And I am proud of social liberators, who were great men like Dr. Martin Luther King and John Lewis.. I am proud that I have been a Quaker Pastor for the last 20 years and that Quakers were involved in the Underground railroad to free men and women, from the evil of slavery. Yet, I am also proud to be associated with true Patriots of history.
For instance, It is seldom mentioned anymore. But a great early American named Patrick Henry said regarding freedom from the oppression of British rule and tyranny at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia in 1775, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” I am proud of men with this kind of moral courage, even when facing personal loss and pain or persecution for their stand.
I Echo the sentiments of my black friends who proudly declare that their lives matter. And I stand shoulder to shoulder with them, in opposing any and all injustice against them. Still, while I support the cause of honoring and valuing all my black friends. I do not support causes that would replace American democracy with socialism. Some of these organizations seem to be: really covert demonizers seeking to escalate the separation of white and black. So while I support my black friends and their welfare and equal treatment under the law. I do not support causes that really seek the internal upheaval and elimination of democracy and individual rights, in our country. Some of these organizations are not about the promotion of black people but about the disintegration of our society and destruction of our freedom loving, way of life. What do I mean?
For instance, I love our military. Black and white. I am thankful for such a force that protects democracy around the world. I love our police forces. Black and white. I am thankful for a group of committed professionals, who are there to enforce public safety and the rule of law.
Yes there are bad apples in both groups. And they should be found, corrected and eliminated. But the institution of public safety officers is needed and important.
So my point is there are things being sought in the guise of racial equality; that are not really about that at all, in my opinion.
So the bottom line of what I mean in this writing? I will seek every opportunity to promote, escalate, Inspire and be a friend to black men and women. At the same time, I will oppose with every fiber of my being, any efforts to undermine, destroy or overthrow our American democracy.
I may be just a little country preacher. But I have a conscience. And I have courage. I will seek first to honor Christ and tell all men about His love, mercy and guidance.
Still, I am a patriot at heart. And I love my country. So In this time of social turmoil, I will not be a mouse. If it necessary to stand against evil that would destroy our country. I ask God to Grant that my legs be strong, my back straight, my eyes clear, and my heart clean, as I stand for right. I am not seeking to be against anyone: white or black or red or yellow or brown. But I am for Christ! And I am for freedom. And I am for American Unity. So in addition to racial equality, I believe I must stand for these things.
So I will stand and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the liberty for which it stands, one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. If you choose to kneel, then I stand for you and your right to kneel. But I also stand as an invitation for you to stand with me, as my fellow American, pledging allegiance to a country where we should be committed to love one another. Where we should be pledged to do good to each other, as our civic duty.
So, I ask God to give you and I strength, as we seek to navigate these perilous times.
Remembering: Being an American doesn’t start in Washington. It starts with me and you, in our hearts: When we let Light, Life and Truth Echo from our own voices. When you and I will have thoughts of good and concern and well-being for each other. When, in spite of the hatred being spewed around us; we love and grow and develop together, l. And with equal esteem for one another, we truly have hope in each other and in our common good. Then and only then can we heal our divisions. I believe that is the purpose of the Justice of our Constitution. That we be governed together by its true light.
May God bless you and I, in America. Let’s remember to try to stand for each other!