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A groundswell of anti-racism flags and position statements seems to be taking over many public and social media venues. My Amazon shopping app now opens with a statement that “Amazon stands in solidarity with the Black community” and invites shoppers to “read about what we’re doing” on a specially designated landing page. My neighborhood NextDoor.com CEO has issued a strong statement that the Nextdoor community will not tolerate racist language in our community networking posts. And you can validate for yourself that many other examples abound.
As to the Nextdoor position, my wife, alarmed that such a statement needed to be put forth did a quick check over the history of posts to our Nextdoor site and found no such language ever being used. Maybe it had been used and deleted? I’m doubtful.
Has Amazon ever not stood in solidarity with customers of every color?
Nobody I personally know or have known for decades has ever uttered in my hearing a racially disparaging remark. And I would recognize one if I heard it. I was a child in the early ’60s living next door to a man who was quite racist and didn’t pull any punches when talking about non-whites. My parents used him as an example of what not to be, think, and say. It was the easiest lesson I ever learned because it made complete sense and stood in stark contrast to the smallness of the neighbor and his self-righteous posturing. Something even a seven-year-old could understand and know; that this man was wrong to speak so ill of people simply on the basis of their skin color.
At the risk of being canceled or put in a time-out of some kind, I feel the need to say that in a mature and respectful society, something like this should go without saying. The fondest desire of Dr. M.L. King was that men would be judged by the “content of their character” not the color of their skin. Judgment goes both ways. We have no right to judge a person inferior or superior by virtue of their skin color. We are all pigmented in some way and I find it frustrating that our current gatekeepers feel a need to signal virtuously about anything relative to race.
In my formative days, the cry was for us to be “colorblind.” I took every opportunity in my education, work life, and social life to assent to and pursue that glorious ambition. And over the years, it has felt wonderful to aspire for good for every brother and sister of the human race without a colorized finger on the scale of value.
I know some would say that I am probably self-deceived and that my race-privilege prevents me from seeing the sinister dysfunction still alive in our communities. But I can’t help but mourn that so many in public positions feel a need to colorize us again and do so in the subversive way of forcing our language, making us feel we have to say one half of what should be patently obvious. If we value the human race, all lives matter.
OK, go ahead. Slap me around.Published in