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Bloody Racism: Bad Seeds Planted
6/24/2015 2:44:52 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

As I watched the most horrific unprovoked tragedy in Charleston's history unfold while vacationing in Houston, I could not believe that my beloved city, the city that I have work so hard to help eradicate racism, fell victim to the very same thing that I have given a lifetime fighting against.

Although the unfathomable, unprecedented, premeditated murders, not to mention betrayal of the pastor and members trust do not come as a surprise, I am surprised at the location--Mother Emanuel AME Church. The church has always been our refuge in the Black community. A place where we come together to worship and unload our burdens. A place where we leave feeling inspired and renewed to face yet another week.

The church often serves as a meeting place for the community to address issues including racism through round table discussions, marches and demonstrations. My history with Mother Emanuel goes back to the integration of Folly Beach. My mother took me to Emanuel AME for a meeting on the first swim in to integrate Folly Beach. I was too young to go with the group but my mother felt she needed to have her children witness the fight for change.

I watched as the van rolled away from the church headed up Calhoun Street to Folly Beach. It took several of those trips but finally we were able to swim in the waters at Folly Beach without being chased out of the waters.

While I am not surprised at the murders, I predicted Charleston would have a long, hot summer and I was not referring to the heat. Racism was ripe for explosion. I am surprised that it happened on Holy grounds. Racism is like a powder keg waiting to ignite. It builds up on the inside and explodes without a notice. Racism is unpredictable. It's like a festering sore if left untreated will spread and cause devastating pain.

Racism has been like a sore thumb for Blacks. It sticks out. It hurts; and, it's a constant reminder that something is wrong with the body. As Blacks, we have had to carry the burdens of racism all of our lives. We don't know what it is like to wake up in the morning, go to work and not worry about "stuff". We find ourselves the last hired and first fired. We are never good enough for top paying jobs. Whites are promoted over blacks in many instances and given the better jobs even when blacks have been on the jobs longer, are better educated and know more about the position.

The same thing happens in education. White students have better schools, better teachers and better access to a more quality and challenging education than Black students. Black students are suspended and expelled more often than White students. Black teachers are often assigned to predominately Black schools and White teachers to predominately White schools. Black teachers and professional educators carry the burden of too much student loans. Black parents even mortgage their homes so their children can have a better chance at a successful future than they had.

Yet, those same college graduates are passed over for jobs, for promotions and are constantly harassed to pay these loans back while unemployed or receiving minimum wages. White teachers teach in predominately Black schools to have their student loans forgiven. Do you get it yet? No; then check out the banks' records and see who pays the most interests on mortgages and auto loans.

How many Payday and Title loans have you seen in White neighborhoods? I received a call while on vacation with an offer that I was approved for $1,500. I told the caller she probably needed the money more than I do and take my name of her sucker list. All these loan predators want to do is get you tied up for life over a measly $1,500 with 29% or more in interests. These are just some of the ugly heads of racism that Blacks encounter on a daily basis. Yet, we continue to teach our children to go school, get a good education and job. We teach our children to love in spite of all of the hurdles they are confronted with.

So, what does all of this has to do with the murders at Mother Emanuel? It has to do with equity. It has to do with how we got to this point. It has to do with treating every person with dignity and respect. It has to do with providing equal job opportunities and education for all people. America has to do away with its class system. In case White folks don't know it yet, Blacks are never going back to slavery. It's over!

And, you need to tell your sons and daughters that it is over. Children tend to emulate what they see and hear. If hatred resides in your home, it will more than likely reside in your children. If your children see you stockpiling guns, they too will be gun lovers. If all White children hear their parents talk about at the dinner table is how inferior Blacks or Hispanics are, they will start believing you. Children are what we speak into them. If we speak positive things, our children will become positive. If we speak negative things, we get negative children such as Roof, the White Separatist, who is negative and disconcerting. Children such as Roof hate and don't even understand why they hate. We must plant good seeds if we are to produce good trees.

As I watched the Black and Whites coming together on the streets and in church services praying together, I said that is how it should be at all times. We should not have to wait until a disaster happens and we talk love. Love is action and so is forgiveness. Those of you who are stockpiling money and can reach out to help others who are less fortunate than you, why not do so? If you can provide decent paying jobs for students to give them a better start on life, then why not do so? If you can bring some equity to education to ensure students receive a quality education and are successful, why not do so? When you fail to do these things, you are part of the problem.

It is time those decent folks step up to the plate and say enough to the division between the races. We really are more alike than different. If we don't, we will only see more of the same carnage across America. Gov. Haley had the perfect opportunity to set this state on a path of healing when asked how she felt about the Confederate Flag coming down. Instead, by the time she got through fast talking, it was clear through her tears that she was not going to lead that fight. And, as for those of you who was posturing just to get on CNN and some of the national networks but never in the number at community meetings, I say shame on you. In order to see a difference, you must help to make a difference.

You must get in the fight. The only way Charleston and the State of SC is going to heal is to take down the Confederate flag and fly the "it's a Good Day in SC" flag. It's a good day in SC and this nation when all of God's children, Black, White, Red and Yellow come together forgetting what's behind and move forward as one. Y'all listening??


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