Juneteenth

 
There were three of us at lunch yesterday. Old friends. A black man from Virginia; a Puerto Rican from the Pacific Northwest; and me…a fellow of Scottish/Jewish descent from the Central Coast of California.
 
We talked about many things, there in the seaside restaurant (fully complying with the Covid-19 requirements). Race. Politics. Demonstrations. Cancel culture. The virus. We didn’t agree on everything…but when all was said and done, we were still friends. What a concept!
 
I find it interesting that on “Juneteenth,” (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth; also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day), the day our country celebrates the emancipation of slaves, there are those who are just as hopelessly suppressed as they ever were in this country. For the black-hearted, claw-footed, gape-mawed beast of bias and bigotry has once again risen up on the slippery slopes of self-righteousness and is attempting to reassert its demonic hold. Only now, the bias is not based on the color of a person’s skin. It is far worse than that. It is based on the thoughts and principles of a person’s heart.
 
There are those who have completely written off opposing thought as being too dangerous to even hear, and the people who think that way as being too stupid, or too ignorant to even merit consideration or conversation. I even heard someone recently refer to a supporter of Donald Trump as a, “Trump-panzee.” While many would laugh at the simian slight, do you have any idea how alarmingly similar the insult is to one uttered by plantation owners when describing the slaves under their ownership? Blacks were considered by some to be more simian than human, and therefore had no self-evident rights, including freedom. In other words, by relegating slaves to a status substandard from their own—i.e. sub-human—it justified virtually any action or attitude.
 
That bigotry was based on skin color. The bigotry of which I speak is based on thoughts and opinions. Tell me…how is it more acceptable to discriminate on the basis of thought than on the color of someone’s skin? Is that not also bigotry? And by practicing discrimination in any form or for any reason, aren’t you enslaving people to a perception? Marginalization, defamation and labeling may make you feel better, but at what cost?
 
And for those of you who consider yourselves even nominally Christian, may I remind you of Christ’s words: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned…for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
 
There is a recurring scene in the movie, “Moonstruck” where an older college professor is having dinner at an Italian restaurant with various young coeds. At some point during the meal, the coed—having realized that the professor isn’t really all she thought he was—stands, throws a glass of water in his face and storms out of the restaurant. Each time, he summons the waiter, hollering, “Waiter, could you do away with her dinner, and any evidence of her, and bring me a big glass of vodka?”
 
“…do away with her dinner, and any evidence of her.” I feel this is an apt metaphor for what I’ve been talking about. Only, it’s going to take more than a “big glass of vodka” to fix this problem.

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