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This truth and patriotism post is a discussion that took place on a forum I participated in. The fact that it took place on Independence Day was purely coincidental, but the unintended relevance of the holiday is the reason I decided to share it with you. This person’s comment I responded to was talking about his dislike of President Obama and what fueled that dislike. The screenshot is his comment and my response to him is below the screenshot.
I’m not challenging your assertion that President Obama’s race had nothing to do with your disagreements with him on policy. I don’t know you and I can’t see what’s in your head, so I’ll take your word on that. But I do have to challenge your assertion that our country was built on “self-pride, self-support, and self-respect”. That is definitely not true. This country was built on the blood of slaves and kept afloat with the generational subjugation and oppression of the offspring slavery produced. Jim Crow laws and legislation that purposely disenfranchised African-Americans created a system of government where African-Americans were free on paper but oppressed by law. To pretend those facts don’t exist does a disservice to history which dooms us to repeat those atrocities and blinds us to the inequalities that still exist.
I have no problem with displays of patriotism and those who take pride in the greatness of America. But I believe owning up to America’s shortcomings can be a form of patriotism where we can all marvel at and take pride in how far we’ve come. That’s exactly what the founding fathers meant when they wrote about forming a more perfect union in our Constitution. To do that we must acknowledge the past and never ever stop working to make things better for the next generation.
Happy Independence Day Everyone!
While listening to some very early blues players music on youtube a while ago I had an inspirational thought that made me feel even more connected to the music because of the rough history my people have had in this country. I thought about the vileness of slavery, the hell of Jim Crow, the rough journey we’ve taken from being sold as slaves to where we are now… a free people with full constitutional rights. While listening to Arthur Crudup literally inventing a new genre of music it makes that journey seem even more remarkable to me. A very small number of oppressed black people 1 generation removed from slavery creating new art-forms that have become wildly popular all over the world. Blues, rock, jazz, R&B, etc all created in a country that officially amended our constitution counting black people as 1/5th of a person. Just that thought alone inspired me. If musical pioneers like Arthur Crudup could achieve so much with so little, it makes me feel that anything is possible regardless of your current circumstances. Unfortunately someone read my inspirational comment and got offended by it. This person read it and thought what I wrote was racist. It literally makes no sense so I decided to do a print-screen and share the exchange with everyone. Here’s the full conversation so you can decide for yourself. I didn’t edit anything out or add anything in. I did blur his name and picture because I thought it was the right thing to do.
Interesting right? I’ve never had anyone tell me I should be thankful for slavery. That is definitely a first. After the last comment above, I informed him that I would love to share our conversation on my blog which lead him to quickly delete his side of the conversation. I figured something like that might happen so I made sure I copied everything just in case. It’s weird how he saw my comment as being racist against whites. History is history. Slavery happened, Jim Crow happened, lynchings happened, the kkk happened. Using those very hard times as a marker for progress shouldn’t upset anyone and it certainly doesn’t make someone a racist for talking about it. Especially when someone talks about it in an inspirational way like I did. Americans shouldn’t be ashamed of the progress we’ve made. We should talk about it more in my opinion. That’s a pretty stark contrast from then to now. That should be celebrated. Even-though we still have inequality within our institutions we can overcome that as well. Just like the abolishment of slavery, just like ending Jim Crow, just like gaining amendments to protect our right to vote. There’s always progress to be made. In my opinion, I think he knew what he was saying wasn’t right. He probably had some time to think about it and that may have lead him to come back, read it again, and delete it. Misunderstandings happen all the time and we’re all imperfect human beings, so I don’t think any of this makes him a bad person. But that’s just my opinion.
After I posted this blog I got another comment from the same person. Apparently I have angered him. He wanted to call me a racial slur but he stopped himself and left hints about the slur he had in mind instead. So here’s the latest:
Here’s the latest developments (2/2/2016). This guy came back and deleted his comment about calling me a racial slur (the one from the 1st update), then tried to pretend he never said anything about a racial slur, and somehow I hallucinated the entire thing. He should have known I was going to screenshot the comment as soon as he posted it. It was only up for 20 seconds but I was quick enough to grab it. Here’s how it went:
After this last comment he decided he had enough and deleted everything again. People don’t know how to react when they are angry and lashing out but you are cool, calm, and rational. They end up looking like the irrational crazy person, which is what they are usually. When you’re smart, confident in your message, and honest about your point of view, there’s no need for anything extra like insults, slurs, and put-downs. Whenever I engage with people who try to attack me personally instead of debating the merits of my ideas, I try to keep that in mind. It’s hard not to call people like him assholes, but I know measured restraint is always the better option.