True Story... A son of the Confederacy lived his whole life believing and expressing the half-baked untruths of racial prejudice. He had been raised to believe that Blacks were inferior to Whites. Sixty years into a life lived in the South he still shared the ideals of white supremacy. To this man the right of his kind to deny others their right to freedom and self-determination was something to be celebrated as a fact of life. In his household the Confederate flag was flown as a symbol of white pride. It was a reminder of a time when there was no doubt in their minds that their right to enslave and otherwise dominate Blacks was god-given.
The mark of racial injustice was indelibly printed on the consciousness of these folk. They celebrated a history that the civilized world has long come to view with disgust. But in the midst of the disgust of a world tending more and more toward Justice, they want to fly the flag of Hate higher. In a world that has long agreed that symbols of hate must be relegated to museums of shame, they want to wear those symbols blazed in ink on their bodies.This son of the Confederacy had that flag tattooed down the length of his large white arms. And so it was. But reality came forcefully to this man one day.
This man had a daughter as his first born. She lives and moves in the emerging new America. She works and shops and plays with Black folk. She sings and dances to Black music performed by Black artists. She sits on the same buses. She flies on airplanes piloted by Black pilots. She attends universities staffed by Black professors. Her personal physician is a Black woman. She fell in love with a black man... And became the mother of a "mixed-race' child. And so now this son of the Confederacy is the grandfather of a black baby... Whom he cant help but love. He cant help it I tell you. And so recently he is desperate to have that tattoo on his arm removed or covered. It can no longer occupy the place it has on his strong right arm... The same arm with which he must now lift and hug his mixed-race grandchild.
This nation recently witnessed a terrible tragedy in South Carolina in which nine members of an African Methodist Episcopal Church were shot to death by a young man who held that symbol of hate as his motivation to murder. After much heart-rending reflection the leadership of this state decided to remove the Confederate flag from its place of prominence at the Peoples' House in that state. It is done... and as a nation we take one more step to the inevitable day when Justice becomes a birthright of every man, woman, and child among us. To those among us whose hearts have been hardened by the hate they celebrate we say a prayer... But more directly we say 'Enough!". We are no longer willing to have the lives of our loved ones sacrificed at the alter of your vanity. Some of us, in the midst of our grief, are quick to "forgive"; but true forgiveness can only come when transgressors confess their faults and repent of their wicked ways.
That day will come when we can come together to celebrate the power of brotherhood. That day will come when the power of Love will overcome the torment of fear. We cannot continue to do wickedness while we hope for "Amazing Grace". Like Paul we must ask the question: "What then, shall we continue to sin that Grace may abound?" To that question we must all reply like the apostle: 'God forbid!". Like the son of the Confederacy who now finds himself embracing his black grandchild, we all are part of a history that is at times unfortunate. The history of hate that still heats and thickens the blood of many among us is unfortunate... But it can be overcome. The thickened and heated blood of the hater is a source of his own distress. Our hardened hearts will eventually lead to our downfall. Those who suffer from the malady of Hate need to avail themselves of the fountain of living waters. That fountain is Love. Your ancestors did wrong. You can and must change. Blood may be thicker than water... But nothing is thicker than Love.