As I watched the biopic of one of the Greatest American Generals ever, U. S Grant and his role in winning The Civil War and keeping the Union together, I could not help but wonder at the number of Northern soldiers most of whom volunteered to fight on the right side of history. Almost all of them were not victims of slavery nor should they have cared, but the American Spirit in them jostled them into action to fight for Equal Rights and Justice! Many of them lost their lives just for a cause they believed in. They did not have to do so!
You see in history there comes a time when the privileged and those who don’t suffer oppression stand up for the oppressed.
A perfect example is Rev James Reeb. At the time when the majority of Americans thought Martin Luther King’s fight for Civil Rights was asking too much, it took the sacrifices of people like James Reeb to advance the cause forward! The problem was the fight for Civil Rights had come to a standstill! It was at this time that Rev. James Reeb moved from Boston Massachusetts to Alabama to participate in the ”Selma to Montgomery” marches. He was murdered by white segregationists and it was the death that provided the fuel for President Lyndon B Johnson to forge ahead and win Civil Rights!
Here is my point! If you are in a position of privilege in a society you may not experience racism and racist acts! But instead of putting your head in the sand like an ostrich and behaving like racism and inequality does not exist, the least, you can do is NOt to bash those who fight for equality and justice!
If you are more offended by the knee of Colin Kaepernick during the National Anthem and you are not outraged by the same knee that choked a black man to his death then you, my privileged friend are part of the problem!
If you cherish your penchant for your fake patriotism more than all other lives because of the colour of their skin then you are not part of the solution!
And unless and until there is equal rights and justice and fairness for all, then you will continue to deal with acts that you deem as disrespectful to your flag and country. “How long shall we stand aside and look as they continue to kill and maim our people?”
There is an African proverb that says inter alia “if the Ku Ku Ku stops, the Ke Ke Ke will cease.”
If you value your patriotism that much then it is time to value black lives too.
Peace and adios!
By Dr. Yaw Berko an Internal Medicine Physician in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
If you want to know more about the murder of Rev. James Reeb follow this link to the Podcast “White Lies” to get more information
Feature photo: Showing Rev. James Reeb a Unitarian Universalist minister and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.