Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Every time there is a mass killing in our country the President, the media and special interest groups say we need a national conversation/dialogue on race or guns or mental illness or economic justice or some other subject they want brought to our attention.  Instead, it is the time the nation should be focused on the victims and those who loved them.  A time of grieving and mourning.  As the families in Charleston, SC showed the nation, it is also a time for forgiveness.  It is not the time to raise your favorite issue or to defend your social issues.

People have been calling for a national conversation on race for as long as I can remember and I was born soon after World War II ended.  There has been a national conversation.  The conversation just has not been what some people wanted and most of it has been confined to one race blaming the other race for all the problems.  

I am a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, but I have a couple of flaws which keep me from really being in the club.  I do not have a college degree from any college much less an Ivy league university and I have a psychiatric label that I have come out of the closet about having.  So I am fair game for being a WASP.  For being mentally ill.  For being under-educated.  I am a race that can be talked about without penalty and have a disability that can be talked about without penalty even if the person doing the talking knows nothing about the subject.  However, I am the under- educated, uncouth Appalachian redneck.

My point here is that you can not start a dialogue if some groups are already ruled inferior.  The problem in America is that every group has some group they feel superior to.  African Americans have legitimate longstanding severe issues that have never been addressed, but so do people with psychiatric labels who live on Indian Reservations or live in Appalachia.  Most of us do not have enough humility to think of all of our fellow humans as equals and having the same rights as we believe we have.  There is always some group we believe is not worthy even if it is reserved for people who commit mass murders.  Remember the example set by the families in Charleston, SC.

We should not be looking for a national conversation on race, but rather a national conversation on humility, forgiveness, restorative justice, peace, and community.

© Ed Cooper, June 23, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
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