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False Pride in America

January 23, 2008

The hurt of race and bigotry erupted in the U.S. primary elections. On the Martin Luther King holiday, a group of “white separatists” conducted a rally in Jena, Louisiana, now a hot spot for racial contest. The church that presidential candidate Obama attends has been spotlighted for “black pride”. The drowsy monster of bigotry is now fully awake in America and seeks to justify itself.

For the longest time, perhaps since the beginnings of this nation, an undercurrent of bigotry based on appearance has persisted like no other place in the world. The nation was, perhaps unwittingly, established on the basis of slavery while proclaiming the ideal that all men are created equal. The founders clearly did not see this as hypocrisy, but rather as the ideal. This idealism does not change the facts. We are a damaged and hurt nation that continues to languish in the past. Attitudes of prejudice and resentment have quietly smoldered and as civil rights legislation took hold, have gone underground. While most Americans have found an uneasy peace, the resentment on both sides continues unabated. America has been cursed by the slavery and attitudes of its youth.

Instead of looking to a better future, even during the best of times, Americans have persisted in relishing their roots and justifying their feelings in an effort to feel good and make their feeling right. Considering the roots of this country, this kind of justification is clearly a problem. Many peoples have felt the sting of racism in America: Indians, Irish, African-Americans and Chinese among them. Some racism has healed, yet it persists in many circles: a sleeping demon that hopes to swallow the nation whole. Racists seek to justify their existence through their resentment and activism. This resentment is the by-product brought about by a lack of forgiveness and quiet hatred and passed on to our children. That is why this resentment still exists. The bitterness of the soul quietly rages as the soul seeks to heal itself through the very means that destroys it. The oppression and misfortune of the past is not a balm for the future. Those that live in the past are destined to continue to repeat the past as they continue to live in it. That is where America stands.

Elvis Manning
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