A matter of perception

I read recently that there will be a civil rights rally for white people and I know some people are already starting to get upset at the matter but why? Let’s take a second to define the words “civil rights.” The right of citizens to political and social freedom and equality, is the dictionaries definition when searched online. There’s also information on the civil rights act of 1964 and a lot of other interesting tidbits. No where in any of it does it say that these rights were relegated to one group. People wanting to exercise their rights should be allowed to do so.

My fear with this rally has nothing to do with what it is believed to be but more of what it will be perceived as, by some attending and observers. I have three children and I tried to ingrain one thing in their mind, well, ok. I also tried to instill the mantra from the gunslinger, “I do not shoot with my hand.” That type of thing. I was going through a phase and it just seemed like an excellent way to get kids focused, but back to my point. I tried to teach my kids several things, foremost among them was the fact of perception.

In my world, perception is the rule and I tried to make this something my children understood. How you are perceived by people. How your words are perceived by others, will be the truth to them. It doesn’t matter what you intend or what you may have meant. People’s perception is the truth, to them it is anyway.

The civil rights rally for white people will not be a group of citizens that believe in the rights for all, but they want to promote love for their own. No, this will be a mass majority of racist people, with a small smatter of the former thrown in, for good measure. A group of people who do not believe in the civil rights for all, will commingle with a group that feels down trodden in today’s politically divisive America.

I believe this group doesn’t actually care about civil rights at all but will hijack the cause for their own nefarious means. Not intent on just saying “We are white and we have rights.” But to say “We are white and our rights supersede anyone else’s.” They are not interested in this soul that was becoming America. Chanting slogans like “You will not replace us!” These people are determined to return us to a time when America was white first. It’s like they want the right to be racist. “Sure, I hate you but I love taking your money.” type of thing.

I write these words knowing in my heart, that what I’m saying will be misconstrued, misinterpreted and misunderstood, but I feel I must write them because they have to be said. We are coming to a time in America when it seems the people we hired to keep us together is hell bent on breaking us apart. A time, that when reviewed in history, will be the turning point to something just as big as the movement in the sixties.

Any people that want to get together and exercise their rights to free speech should be allowed to do so. Even if the person is spouting words of hate and divisive rhetoric, they are given this right in America. We should not stop these people from being able to say what they want to say. The people in turn have to understand and respect the rights of others. This is where I believe the issues lie for many that cry “foul” when they say something abhorrent. People have a right to give their dollars to whomever they want. If you’re spouting hatred and don’t want “these people,” “those people” or “them” to be a part of your world. Don’t expect their dollars.

Everyone has a right to do whatever they want to do in this world and as free people, we have a right to reward and punish, for what we feel deserves our hard earned dollars. On the news right now, the founder of what I consider to be the worst pizza in the world, Papa John’s; is about to go into a legal battle with his company over racist comments. I have heard what the man said and I honestly don’t care because I didn’t eat his pizza, but the perception of the company itself is now tied to racist comments that will be hard to erase. His rights aren’t infringed, he can no longer just say what he wants at the company he built. I think that’s fair. After all the company wants the dollars of the people he hates.

Thanks again for wasting a few minutes with me. As always, comment if you feel some kind of way. Follow me on Twitter @WashThompson3 or signup for the WiseWords newsletter, coming shortly. May the spirit keep you.

Losing our way.

Are we done with morality in America? I ask this question seriously because the way it’s looking we are on our way to something that doesn’t bode well for my children. A few years ago, I had faith in the path of America. We, as a people stood together throughout some of the toughest times in recorded history and as a voice began to stand for hope. Though it was short lived, I had faith in the growth of America, what it’s people was showing me and what I started to see in myself. I believed in the country’s possibilities, not because of the election of Barack Obama to the White House; but the feeling that came after that.

Though the divisions in America began rather quickly after President Obama’s election, there was still this strong undercurrent of belief in what is right, what’s good. A belief that America is more than what it’s history had portrayed for so many years. For the first time, I didn’t see the country as black and white, I saw it as America. I began to understand that there were people who just weren’t going to like you, no matter how much you strive for their acceptance.

America is a country of freedoms. You learn this in school but when you’re a black man growing up in this country of freedoms, you soon learn that yours are limited. You learn rules that I’d rather not discuss now but have become all too familiar in many a young black man’s mind. Those times weren’t the culmination of Barack Obama’s election, they were there well before that; but Barry O’s election bolstered belief in what was possible.

Reminiscent of John F. Kennedy’s election and the Catholic religion’s impact on America several decades earlier; African Americans saw this as their chance to be seen and accepted as equals in America. Sure there was a minority of people who harbored ill feelings toward such progress but the overwhelming majority wanted change and believed in the hope of America.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that America is still dealing with the scars of slavery and many remain upset about losing their primary working force, but those times were supposed to be behind us. We as Americans were ready to heal those wounds and move on together towards a stronger tomorrow.

Those hopes and with it the change a majority of Americans fought for appears lost. Vile hatred, once a smoldering undercurrent of America and its history, has become a mainstream theme. The racial divide being promoted by today’s political climate is very different from anything that I’ve experienced in my life.

Bolstered by what can only be described as a child like, self-confirmed racist, America’s scar is being picked open and the wound is threatening to poison the body. The stories are becoming more prevalent. Stories of blatant racism being splashed on the screen. Stories of this insidious poison impacting those once considered civilian in this war of race, the children.

Though it cannot be laid squarely at President Donald Trump’s feet, because this poison permeated from a small region of America since the civil war, I can say with certainty that he will go down in history for its prevalence. Thanks to the glaring eye of technology America and the world is being re-introduced to things that we had hoped to defeat.

I follow my question in the beginning with a few more. Will America still have a chance to be what it was meant to become? Has the great experiment failed? Are we on our way to another civil war?