In fifth grade we did a social experiment. My teacher gave each of us either a green or a brown bow. We had to pin it prominently on our chest for all to see. On the first day, those of us with the brown bows had to stand during certain subjects, they were dismissed last, they had to get lunch last and couldn't sit or play with the green bows, and had to use the furthest restroom facilities. The rest of the school was aware of what was going on and acted accordingly. I had a green bow but was completely distraught and upset by the experiment. When I said it was stupid to treat the brown bows differently our teacher would shrug and say, 'But that's how it is' and go on. My mom was a recess lady at the time and I angrily marched up to her and told her of the injustices going on and she had the same response as my teacher.
I was infuriated and when I tried to get other green bows to stand when the brown bows were told to or use the farthest facilities they were made to use...no one would band with me. They liked the preferential treatment and didn't see the need to change anything. In just a few hours, they somehow accepted they deserved to be treated better and it was just the lot for the brown bows to be treated like that and endure harsher existence. The next day, much to the green bows chagrin, the rules changed. The brown bows were now superior and had lunch served first, were able to use the closer restrooms and bathrooms and green bows had to endure the what the brown bows did the day before.
That was the memorable experiment my teacher used right before she began teaching us about the history of segregation. I have never forgotten it and do not think I ever will.
The most bothersome thing that sticks with me to this day, was the simple acceptance the green bows had, that they were somehow better, that they simply deserved to be treated that way and that the brown bows just had to deal with their obstacles and problems simply because of the color of their stupid bow.
Recently, a young man walked into a church in Charleston South Carolina and murdered 9 people because of his evil racism and skewed vision that he was part of a superior race.
Where does this sense of entitlement come from? Why does anger and hatred form for those who simply have a different amount of melatonin in their bodies?
I thought over and over that this might never be answered. But I remembered, what I learned in 5th grade, these thoughts, these feelings of entitlement and superiority that some embrace are created and supported by others who refuse to acknowledge that we are part of one race-the human race. It exists, it flourishes, it continues and grows because people refuse to challenge the ugliness of it. Hell, it is not even so much as they will not challenge it, they will not even admit it exists until it is too late. Then when vile and disgusting nature of some is revealed, there are many in society who try to sweep it under the rug with the excuse that it doesn't happen every day or not everyone is like this.
People-it doesn't matter that it doesn't happen 'every day', it should not happen at all. We should not try to excuse it away or hide it. We must scrutinize the vicious and hideous truth with an unwavering gaze so we can truly have our eyes and hearts opened to the injustices that surround us.
Yes, it is uncomfortable. Yes, it is hard to digest. Yes, it is horrible. But unfortunately, we live in a reality where people are discriminated against for simply existing and looking different.
It is not only disturbing but equally embarrassing to think that a little over 50 years after Martin Luther King, JR had to deliver the heartbreaking eulogy for the children who perished in the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 that his words still ring true.
"...They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream."
We can do better.
We can be better.
We must do better.
We must not stay quiet if we see an injustice. We must open not only our eyes and hearts but also our mouths. Choose to stand up to the people in your life who say racist and bigoted remarks, choose to challenge their thought processes and open up their tiny minds to a bigger and more beautiful world.
Not saying anything is choosing to accept and condone reality as it is and refusing to make a change.
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This has been a Sunday Confession with the one and only More Than Cheese And Beer about the prompt 'embarass'. I do hope you'll stop by the link up to see how the other brave bloggers tackled this subject. Happy Sunday to you.