Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wild Fire

I am reading the newest book by Nelson DeMille called Wild Fire. I really enjoy his books for a variety of reasons. I initially became hooked with one of his earlier books titled Night Fall. Even though a slower read, it was food for thought in the area of politics and government organizations. Wild Fire is a brilliant read about an ATTF detective and his special agent wife who are hot on the trail of an extremely right wing social group of businessman/former US soldiers who have their own ideas about how to end the reign of terror by certain Islamic Groups.

This book made me remember the anxiety that I acquired in my younger years around Russians in grade school. Of course at the time I didn't realize that my nervousness around them was a direct result of negative media attention due to the Cold War and all the talk back in the 80's about Russians possessing nuclear weapons. Some over-zealous anchor had me convinced that I needed to be extremely fearful of these people who were the first foreign faces of doom to my family and country that I had been exposed to. I don't at all mean to make it sound as if the fear was not warranted. The threat was real. As far as we as a country knew, we were in danger of being nuked. A term that has come to mean so much more than "microwaved".

It dawned on me halfway through this book that the same thing may be happening to a new generation as a result of 9/11. Although nothing physically happened during the Cold War, the fear that these threats invoke is real whether the danger has been manifested or not. Whether tragedy concludes or escapes, the fear is present regardless.

As the author made jokes about the inhabitants of "sandland", and expressed a certain disdain for their culture and beliefs, I wondered if it was ever possible for us to rid ourselves of prejudice with such strong indication from our media and society that these fears are not only accepted, but expected.

It seems every generation has a new face of fear. Our government officials, in an effort to keep us safe I'm sure, have allowed the American people to grow suspicious of anyone who doesn't look "American" by birth. And although "American" has grown to incorporate a lot of ethnic backgrounds, we are now refusing to accept those of Middle Eastern descent.
Christ teaches us to love one another. Point Blank. The Bible doesn't include a passage stating that you can choose NOT to love those whom you BELIEVE may cause you harm due to crimes that people of their same origin have committed. If LOVE was conditional that way, no race, or human for that matter would qualify.

I am not saying not to be careful of those that we believe may cause us harm, I am saying, that we should give all people the same respect. That skin color should not be an excuse to ignore, belittle or avoid. As African Americans many of us know what it is like to be expected to be something, or not, because of the color of our skin. Not smart, a good athlete, someone who can't speak articulately or write eloquently. We have all been stereotyped, no matter what color. Whether the stereotype suggest that we be ignorant or dangerous simply by outer appearance, it is usually inaccurate. They help to mislead others into judging us or believing that we are something that we have not PROVEN ourselves to be.

So let's choose to love by proving to our politicians, media and most importantly children that we refuse to fear or judge someone based solely on the color of their skin. I am in NO WAY belittling September 11th and those who lost their lives in that tragic event. I am simply stating that it would have been a tragedy regardless of whether the monsters were Black, White, Hispanic or Middle Eastern. A crime is a crime. Every race commits them and during certain periods of history some people of some races more than others.

I am also in no way suggesting that our officials should not use EVERY METHOD POSSIBLE to keep us safe, just mentioning that by keeping tabs of what race commits the most crimes against humanity we doom ourselves to fear one another indefinitely.

So for those of us who have an understanding of what LOVE should be, let us be an example through our everyday living that we can inter racially coexist. Not an easy task, but one that I hope will be accomplished in my lifetime.

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