The racist that is us

The world mourns for a beacon that was Mendela.

It rains in the stadium and inside the heart.

Racism was an ingrained system up to the Civil War, fought in World War, struggled in the 60’s and onto the 90’s in Apartheid.

We simply don’t like color folks, first in speech, than in hush-hush, now only in thoughts. Keep it to yourself.

But if it’s the Huxtables (neighbor, doctor and well-mannered) than it’s OK.

Recently down in Florida, it still happened when a nephew of a resident got shot in a struggle. Zimmerman got off free, than later, in jail for beating up his girlfriend. A diametrical replay of Rodney King who also got arrested for other charges after the LA riot.

Man inhumanity to man spreads across the color line.

What Nelson Mendela did which made him great? He simply went to a ball game (just like Rosa Parks who chose to sit in front of the bus), and not a soccer game, but a Rugby game (lilly-white). He refused to be drawn into a downward spiral, the mean streak of violence piling on top of violence, which eventually destroys both sides. This cycle polarizes us, and perpetuates itself,  inflating the dark side in each of us, the racist part. Studies show that fear passed on from generation to generation, that includes the fear of the bogeyman.

For me, Mandela was more than a symbol of reconciliation, or racial struggle, or political triumph.

He was and remains my symbol of hope. Of thought leadership. Our Gandhi. Creative problem-solving, while setting aside personal feelings (and the urge to take revenge).

27 years of honing his thoughts and feelings in confinement.

Of nursing the dim light of hope. Of  life-long learning.

Then, boom! Stadium and podium, concert (Bono) and ball game, Bishop and President.

Sometimes, in traffic, a minute is too long for us. And when pre-judging someone, 5 seconds are too long.

The racist in us needs a re-education. Be it 27 years or life time. But start now. To understand and be understood. What if you were born dark-skinned? or white for that matter. The burden is on us to reach out, to say “Hi, my name is….. Good to meet you”. I know a friendly person when I come across one. Don’t you? Because if we don’t, we simply transfer that fear to the next generation, and before we know it, history repeats itself due to our ignorance or inertia. Then, some facist or racist leader will rise (hopefully with another style of greeting if he/she is creative enough) and recycle those stirring speeches we all know so well ” they took our jobs, they come with strange ” costumes” etc…”.

Then the crowd will nod, and the crowd will call themselves the Majority vs the Other. And mass hysteria will take over

The right to bear arms etc… and our children will have to do it all over again. I hate that, don’t you. So mourn, but not too long. Mendela would rather see us take action, smile at strangers regardless the size of their bodies or the color of their skin. It only takes a small effort to reach out, to click on the mouse and send a text or endorsement. Recognize the racist that is us, and manually override it. Let not your small inherited fear dictate how you behave in today’s world. I hope that world is full of Mandelas, full of hope and humanity. We got work to do. Let not the small stuff steal  our game of Rugby.


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