Content, Color or Character?

Community Foundation Higher Ground 0 Comments

You cannot lay down remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty. For only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen are but one man…and that the cornerstone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation? … Gibran

As we observe another annual Black History Month, we approach it with mixed emotions. For some it represents no more than a minor interruption–for others it is a time of assessment and reflection.

This year, Dr. Martin Luther King’s statue was finally unveiled on the National Mall, halfway between the statues honoring Presidents Lincoln and Jefferson. These three men, who worked for the human rights of all citizens, are now forever joined on our capitol’s most prominent park. We also honored the passing of 9/11. In the decade since the activities of that day changed the world forever, we have clear evidence of Americans as gracious, considerate, empathetic and compassionate — regardless of color.

It is now our responsibility to help all Americans create this same sense of value.

A case in point: a public school class in Gwinnett was recently given homework that included stereotypical roles of black slaves. The teachers seemed insensitive to the ways these images damaged races in a democratic society. Even more grievous, some administrators at the school really saw no harm in this exercise, nor any need for apologies to these students or their parents.

This is the moment when we must all come together. This is the moment when the content of a person’s character stands at the fork in the road. This is the moment when we should rise above the struggles of a poor economy and racism. Let us not inflict harm on ANY of our children. Let us not be insensitive to ANY of their needs. Let us learn to live, as Dr. King prayed, “in the world house” — where Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Palestinians could dwell in peace. Will this ever be a reality? Can we make it happen? What do you think?

Rev. Joe Roberts