This country has never gotten over this idea that there is a genetic difference between the racial colors of blacks and whites that makes them different. Some studies in the past have suggested that whites are naturally smarter than blacks so it must be genetic? Not so. Genes are a segment of the DNA and all humans, black, white, brown, yellow, whatever have the same DNA. So if you can’t blame it on heredity but does the environment we grow up in come to mind? Bingo. Fifty-three years ago James Baldwin said he would never forgive his country or countrymen for destroying hundreds of thousands of lives, not really knowing what they had done, and not wanting to know. Today, I believe those who so criticize and condemn blacks realize what they are doing and many are proud of it.
I grew up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s so I experienced the whole nine yards. I didn’t understand why then and I don’t understand why now. Tim Wise, who writes on this issue a lot, quoted Baldwin’s words, above, commenting, “and in the wake of the Baltimore uprising that began last week, they are words worth remembering.” He brings up a point voiced by many black Americans, ‘How can we possibly know what they go through when we have never lived it?’ There is no way any white American can put his or herself in the shoes of a black man or black woman…or Hispanic, or American Indian, or Asian. But what’s the problem anyway? Years ago in the South there was the fear that if a black family moved in beside you your property value would go down. Most of the time that was imaginary, or if it did happen it was only temporary.
Today we live side by side with property values unaffected but there is still an unmistakable tension of hate between the races.