Racism, prejudice and discrimination exist. People are sometimes still viewed and treated differently solely because of their superficial attributes without any consideration for the deeper identity of the individual, the content of character. And it represents a great flaw of humanity that human beings will never be able to fully eradicate these feelings from any society. Where there are people, there will be hatred and evil, just as there will be goodness and love.
While these feelings are ubiquitous, they are not pervasive, despite the endless calls of racism in the United States. With the recent shooting in South Carolina comes the all too predictable claim that hate and prejudice rule in America. On June 19, USA today ran with the headline “Hate in America,” recounting the events in Charleston, focusing on the aspect of racism and “lone wolf” attacks.
Also on Friday, the Denver Post led with the headline “Racism likely factor” pointing out the investigation of this tragedy as a hate crime and using the President’s frustrations as a thinly veiled attempt to promote gun control. The same article points to the President’s words, “at some point, we, as a country, will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,”Obama said. The people of Norway might have something to say about that and direct the president to educate himself on the 2011 attacks in that nation.
Meanwhile, the city of Chicago has seen 33 people (as of this writing) shot and killed in the month of June alone with 179 killed in 2015. The vast majority of these were the violent acts of black Americans on other black Americans. And while not entirely illegal, the possession and use of firearms in the city of Chicago has some of the most stringent restrictions in the country. I have yet to see the headline in the Denver Post or USA Today highlighting this violence, or the president make it a priority to end the violence in Chicago, his adopted home city.
This stubborn silence has a direct relation to the outcry of racism that has been splashed all over the news over the past few days. One scenario provides ostensible support for an agenda, the other is a direct contradiction. Meanwhile, people die.
The actions of killers in Chicago, South Carolina or Main Street, USA do not reflect the ideology of most Americans of any race. Hate is not a fundamental belief system in the United States. It used to be, but this nation has made great strides towards promoting equality of opportunity, based in a society of respect, justice and love.
There is also a tragic irony to the prejudice and ignorance that exists in the way that the progressive mentality views these situations. Instead of treating people as the equals they are under the law, hate crime legislation separates identical acts based upon the motive of, well, hate. As though the people being shot in Chicago were not shot out of some sort of hatred. Murder and gun violence is a hateful act, by itself. It does nothing but further segregate society to distinguish a crime based upon racism as something other than the delusional, violent actions of one individual.
It has been a sad few days in this nation but not because we are a hateful country. The tragic actions of individuals have that effect, regardless of their color or their motivations. But the feelings of this killer do not reflect yours or mine or the vast population of this country. What we can do is promote love and tolerance in the face of that slim minority that still promotes hate. We can also provide a level of self-defense for ourselves that is the foundation of the principle behind the second amendment. We must also face the fact that hate exists and will always exist. As will love. And we can be one nation, unified in love. As this Google search reveals, hatred is not in our creed.
Never allow those with predetermined ends to dictate the rules of the game. Keep on in love for one another. These words say it all:
“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance (who was killed in the shooting) said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”