As I watched the torch-totting members of KKK and other hate groups march the streets of Charlottesville,North Carolina, USA, chanting hate mantras, I smiled knowing that such social upheavals eventually catalyze the process of cohesion towards greater mutuality and harmony in humanity.
The European convicts who opted for servitude in the plantations of the New World, the Africans who were forcefully taken and shipped in manacles for the same purpose and the numerous waves of immigrants that populate the US are different strokes of the Master’s brush from the palette for a grand portrait. Unbeknownst to man, humanity is slowly but steadily gravitating to a race of tan, which is the Divine purpose for this corporeality.
Memories of the heinous crimes of Holocaust and other similar acts of inhumanity are gradually receding into the annals of history while the frenzied influx into the US has produced enormous technological advancement including man’s landing on the moon; it has also resulted in the furtherance of the melting pot, which continually points the way forward for harmony in humanity; where else does humanity have the extant racial mix in the US?
With a sense of history, we note that the Caucasian content of those against extremism is increasing enormously compared with what it was yesteryears. While Tony Benneth and very few Caucasians stuck out like sore thumbs in the Martin Luther King rallies of the sixties, today, the population of Caucasians marching against extremism has increased exponentially.
Again, Crispus Attucks (Etuks?), a colored man, was the first person to pay the supreme price for the American War of Independence.While that episode has not been accorded the appropriate recognition in the American narrative, its symbolism and spiritual significance is that the US is truly the New World; a place where all the races come together and live in peace.
As an optimist, I see a positive side in every situation no matter how dire. In the wake of Charlottesville, people from all walks of life have, in unison, condemned racism in the mass media and on the streets of Boston, New Orleans and other cities across the world. Even in the fisticuffs at Charlottesville, Caucasians traded punches thereby putting their lives on the line for racial harmony; in that process, Hether Heyer, a Caucasian,paid the supreme price; her memory should be immortalized.
People generally give what they have, be it love or hate; look into the background of any individual and you find the root of his or her behavior. The repented Neo-Nazi recruiter, Frank Meeink, was marginalized, raised by foster parents who may not have loved him, attended all-black school where he may have been sneered and jeered at and, in his own words,”lived in fear;” so he became not just a Neo-Nazi but a recruiter for the group.
It is very sad that it takes events like the debacle in Charlottesville to draw public attention to issues of racism and extremism. There are usually silent denials in our daily lives until the likes of Charlottesville take place.
No matter what, one thing we can take away from Charlottesville is the degree of condemnation extremism has attracted across the world. Ours is a one-planet civilization at least for now; so, we ought to endeavor to systematically move in the direction of harmony.
Borrowing from Meeink, I’d conclude thus: “empathy is a far better weapon than violence” in race relations; it guards against incidents such as witnessed in Charlottesville as man gravitates towards a Race of Tan.
As it is with race relations, so it is with every interpersonal relationship, empathy is the key. “Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path; ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance” so says the second rule of the Code of Ethics of Native Americans, the aborigines of the land we now call United States of America.
Osai is a lecturer in Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.