Let ME turn my thoughts today to Martin Luther King

Systemic Racism Will Remain Until This is Fixed

“Shed A Little Light” by James Taylor

Shed a Little Light – lyrics and music by James Taylor, July, 1991

Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the Earth.
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood, that we are bound together
in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong.
We are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead.
We are bound and we are bound.

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Shed a little light, oh Lord, so that we can see, just a little light, oh Lord.
Wanna stand it on up, stand it on up, oh Lord,
wanna walk it on down, shed a little light, oh Lord.

Can’t get no light from the dollar bill, don’t give me no light from a TV screen.
When I open my eyes I wanna drink my fill from the well on the hill,
do you know what I mean?

Shed a little light, oh Lord, so that we can see, just a little light, oh Lord.
Wanna stand it on up, stand it on up, oh Lord,
wanna walk it on down, shed a little light, oh Lord.

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist, there is a hunger in the center of the chest.
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
and though the body sleeps the heart will never rest.

Oh, Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
and recognize that there are ties between us.
All men and women living on the Earth, ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood.

Turning MY thoughts to Martin Luther King.

Five years ago I was a white co-host on the urban Black, Zo What Morning radio show along with the main host, Zo Williams, and co-host, Geoff Brown.

I became that co-host after I realized that I was a covert racist and didn’t like what it revealed to me about myself and even more didn’t like the deep shame I felt for having realized it.

It all started after I had heard the “Not Guilty” verdict in the O.J. Simpson Criminal Trial in 1995. I had been an advisor to the Prosecution in that case and when that verdict came through, Blacks rejoiced for securing a victory against the white establishment for the centuries of mistreatment, abuse and violence they had received. For whites, it represented an appalling instance of injustice and the feeling that everything was stacked against getting a fair trial.

Unlike most of my white colleagues on the Prosecution and many of my white friends, I had the realization that the sick to my stomach feeling of injustice that was intolerable might be something my Black friends, especially Black males, might relate to.

I proceeded to ask them if they ever felt that justice was stacked against them and that it wasn’t possible to get a fair trial trial because it was always stacked against them.

To a one, they replied, “I’ve never felt it to be anything but that my entire life.”

I then asked them, “We’re friends, why didn’t you let me know how bad that felt?”

And to a one, they looked me directly in my eyes and said, “Because you didn’t f—kin want to know?”

They were right. I didn’t want to know. Instead I preferred to be conveniently oblivious and in denial of the extent of their pain. That filled me with shame because it was out of alignment with who I believed myself to be.

It was then that I dedicated to doing whatever I could and can to do to give and get talented, hard working, Blacks, women and any unfairly marginalized groups of people their chance at success. I will confess that although I understand the outrage and tendency to be enraged in many such people who are neither talented or hardworking, I will not go out of my way to help them.

But I digress.

Something I discovered and shared on the Zo What Show was a realization of why I thought so many white police officers and white males in general will always be racist regarding Blacks, especially Black males.

It’s because some of what perpetuates that racism by white police officers and white males is a projection of how they would feel if they were those Black males being treated in such a dismissive, denigrated, dismissive and abusive way. The answer is that these white males would project on those Black males that whey would feel frustrated and angry and want to retaliate.

Therefore believing that is what they would feel if they were those Black males, and refusing to accept that they are projecting such feelings on them, these white males look for any signs of frustration (which can be a misinterpretation of those Blacks being frightened and reacting in a self-protective fashion with aggression) and are then able to say to themselves, “See I told me so, that he’s (the Black male) is upset and (if I were him) the next thing he’s likely to do is become aggressive so I am justified in preemptively putting him down to protect myself.”

As long as such white police officers and white males continue to project their own hostile feelings on Black males and deny they are doing it, the more racism will persist.

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One thought on “Let ME turn my thoughts today to Martin Luther King”

  1. Cheryl says:

    Hi, Dr. G. My two cents here. I live in a community that’s at least 95% black. The best church experience I ever had was in an all-black church – the most enthusiasm for Jesus I have ever witnessed. I grew up in the Southwest on the Texas/Mexican border, so, lived with a large community of Hispanic/Mexican souls. They’ve always been good friends and good neighbors. Oh, by the way – I’m of Scottish/English genetics. My experience is that it’s not so much a racial issue as the difference between kind/loving and moral and flat out ignorant and evil. Any and all of us can experience exclusion and discrimination for any reason – racial or otherwise – particularly from any person of any racial persuasion when we come up against someone who’s selfish and has no conscience. Our Divine Creator created people of all genetic diversities – and loves us all – and, yet, even He is hated and rejected. Even our honorable Dr. Martin Luther King realized this – someone I would have voted for President of the United States. Have you read his Letter from a Birmingham Jail? I love this letter. I have been especially struck by this passage from the letter:

    We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” I t was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany…. Source for this quote, https://www.gracepresbytery.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Letter-from-a-Birmingham-Jail-King.pdf

    I hope your readers will take some time to read this letter following your article and ponder this topic further – thinking about what kind of person they are and want to be. As we journey through this crucible of life, the gold WILL be separated from the dross.

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