As the good Dr. Glaude says, I’ll take the hit on this. I read an article about 2 years ago and I looked and looked and just could not locate it again or where I had read it. It talked about how the German government, in this decade as the article was only a few years old, as a country, apologized to its citizens and to the WORLD at what THEY as a country, what they did to fellow human beings during WW II.
As a government, they were not directly telling these current German citizens that they DIRECTLY caused the horrors of WW II. But as a country, they had to come to grips at what their history and that they had to be accountable. This is where we are NOT!
We the people, as the government, have never apologized to the atrocities that have been committed in OUR name, just in our own country against our own. Our government must officially acknowledge what it has done in our history.
We have murdered millions and completely made EXTINCT groups of Native Americans in our history. We have killed millions of African Americans due to slavery and then continued to kill and steal the land promised them after Emancipation. We have killed thousands of Mexican Americans in the Southwest and stole their land, even after they helped our country defeat Mexico. We treated Chinese like chattel just so they can build our railroad. We locked up Japanese Americans out of pure fear of the other, again, all the while they were fighting for our country.
We must acknowledge our sins
We CANNOT get past the original sin of this country, slavery, and all the other black clouds that hover over the history of the country until we ACKNOWLEDGE what we have done. People in this day and age keep on saying, “Well that was a long time ago. I wasn’t even alive.” That’s not the point! Did we do it or not? Are we where we are in all our lives due to what has happened in our history?
How can we ignore all the facts of what had to happen to get us to where we are in our lives today? We do not; no one lives independent of what else has and is happening in the world. To think that none of that doesn’t matter anymore, and at the same refuse to relinquish the thought of oppression symbolized by the confederate flag or cheer on when someone yells out “the South will rise again!” says you HAVEN’T forgotten and DONT WANT to forget and celebrate the notion that all that death and destruction and oppression wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say we are living in a post-racial country, and at the same time chant “we want to take our country back!”
What happened in El Paso with Mexican Americans, in Charleston to African Americans, in Pittsburgh to Muslim Americans, will happen again, and again until we accept the ugly truth of the underpinnings of the foundation of our great country. It IS a great country. Great enough to know it is NOT a perfect Union.
And every time a leader taking the next step is assassinated, we rally as a country to show ourselves we CAN take the next step ourselves; only to become complacent and lazy again and forget our history and allow hate to influence our minds and behavior once more. I don’t know the answer on how to fix this. There isn’t only one cause or solution. All I do know, is we have to keep an open mind, understand the dynamics of the situation, engage in our moral compass, and work together to remove this cancer from our society before this great experiment comes to a crashing conclusion.
Vince Bejarano is from El Paso. He is a 1989 TCU graduate. Attended Fresno State for a year. He returned to El Paso and then subsequently moved to Houston working for the City for 23 years. He got his masters in Clinical Psychology and Industrial Psychology. He said he wrote the article because our current educational system fails to provide context. He suggests that everyone reads Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present (Perennial Classics).