Are We There Yet?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now… I’ve been to the mountaintop… I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. ~ Dr. Martin Luther.

There is a narrative which we have been told over and over. It’s everywhere. It gets ratings. We believe it to be the truth but I am going to challenge it publicly right now!

Our news stories are filled with racial motivated violence; anti-immigration sentiment; all kinds of stories of hostility by one group against another or perpetuation of stereotypes without contextual conversation. If we are to believe what we hear, the US is on the verge of a race war and all because we elected a bi-racial president. There is a rising backlash to having elected a bi-racial president whom we simply identify as being Black. That’s the story anyway.

Please allow me to reframe this narrative. Please note: (1) I am not making assumptions about racist ideology based on political leaning here; (2) I apologize for only focusing on Black and White Americans here; it is only to make a point and contrast the public narratives. I only leave out the other racial and ethnic groups because I am challenging the prevailing conversation.  I promise if I am not excluding anyone in my mental analysis, just trying to be concise.

Here’s my interpretation of this information. First of all, we do not what more than half of Americans think. Remember these numbers include only eligible voters and we only get about 55% of them.  We are not on the verge of a race war but it seems like the news media would like us to believe we are.  Considering the low turnout in 2016 and the high turnout in 2018 this message of hate and division is not as popular as we are being lead to believe. I focus my data on 18-29 because hate is taught and for most of the adults in this range it appears they are not interested in hating. They also did not live during a time of Jim Crow, having their formative years filled with images of US v. THEM.  Lastly, if hate is so prominent why are bi-racial children are on the rise not a decline?

This is what I see happening: I see a man who started a small fire in a forest.  Then he kept gathering wood to keep this tiny fire from burning out.  He began to realize he needed help so he called on his likeminded comrades to bring whatever they could to keep the fire burning.  They sat around telling stories.  Others came along and overheard those stories and joined the party.  They needed more fuel so that the fire would be big enough for everyone. Now everyone kept retelling the same stories as soon as a newcomers came by and ultimately joined in.  To keep the fire going, after running out of fuel, they began to simply fan the flames which only caused that fire to spread to the trees.

We have to begin to challenge this narrative that racial animus is on the rise. Or that we have more racial motivated acts now than 11 years ago. Repeating this narrative, buying into this narrative only fans the frames of discontent, fear, hate and division.  We will destroy ourselves if we do not stop, right now and ask ourselves is this the truth or is this a story.  I like, Dr. King, have seen the promise land and I have seen that we will be lead there by the young. We are not there yet but there is still hope.

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