Monday, July 18, 2005
African-American history in America isn’t something that should be treated as separate from American history; it is a part of our common heritage and it deserves to be treated as such. No glossing over the difficult and shameful parts and no forgetting to celebrate the struggle for equality. These are all parts of what it means to be American--not just black in America or white in America or hyphenated in our heritage.
Teaching the history of blacks in America as something removed from our general history only leads to a feeling of dissociation--that black kids and leaders aren’t as American as the rest of us. That simply isn’t acceptable.
The ideal of the great melting pot is still a beautiful one. It wasn’t an argument for homogeneity, it was an argument that we could come together as one people--Americans--with a healthy respect for our past that added flavor and spice to our culture. But that we were all still, first and foremost, Americans dedicated to justice and liberalism (in the best sense of the word), accepting the various forms of worship, celebration, and living that comes from such a great diversity of people.
Pushing wedges in those cracks that remain between the races is just a way to fracture our society as a whole. It’s a way to slowly chip away at what it means to be an American--which is a far more complex thing than most people credit.
I can’t say that I’m angry, really. I’m just sad at the loss of an opportunity to build community instead of building roadblocks.
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© 2005 by the authors of ResurrectionSong. All rights reserved.
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