Rev. H. Roger Mills, Jr., AHERN Founder-President
The Ugliness of Racism, Enough Is Enough
There is much discussion in this nation, and around the world about racism in this country. Racism is not something that just started, it is systemic to this country. The 1601 project reveals to us that from the landing at Virginia, and through the days of slavery our ancestors were treated as though they were not human. Our women were raped by slave owners and master while their overseers were silent, and the wives were forced to be silent. If and when slaves were beaten with bull whips and or lynched, it was designed to put down defiance and to warn other slaves to stay in line. There was a serious demarcation between house, yard and field slaves.
The period known as the Civil Rights Movement produced the killing of Emmitt Till in Mississippi, the killing of Medgar Evers in his own driveway, the arrest of Rosa Parks as she refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Ala., the bombing of a church (es) in Birmingham (one in which four Black girls were killed). We saw the march from Selma to Montgomery, and the resistance of Sheriff Jim Clark as people tried to register to vote. The march on Washington (1963) for jobs and justice raised the consciousness of America for a time, and the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis were significant events in the struggle for liberation.
The killing of Trayvon Martin, the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson and a number of other killings have given rise to the “Black Lives Matter” Movement. The recent killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the use of video cameras have taken from police a defense that was used and have shown the world the true actions of many white officers involving their relationships and encounters with Black men. The presence of many whites in the protests gives some indication that attitudes are changing.
There are some, both white and black, who believe that some who participate in the protests today will not vote for individuals who will effectively work for change in policing. Some believe that some who participate are really racist themselves, or believe there is no racism in police departments across this nation. As an example: A sermon by the late Rev. Dr. Virgil Caldwell of New Monumental Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN titled "Brain Washing and De-programming" from John 5:6-8. In his sermon he says, "before a person who has been brain-washed can be helped, he must be de-programmed". He goes on to say, "brain-washing is a process of indoctrination by which a person ceases to think for himself and accepts, unreservedly the beliefs of some other person". "De-programming is the process of undoing the damage which was done by brain-washing and restoring one's ability to think for himself".
I am convinced that many Black Americans have being fooled to believe that the current holder of the White House is fighting for the Black community. They have been brain-washed and need to be de-programmed. If the South had won the Civil War, we, Black Americans, might still be slaves. Many Blacks are sitting in Evangelical Churches are committed to the current president, forgetting that the Evangelical leadership is committed to the current conservatives agenda and voting for persons espousing these views. These individuals don’t believe that racism exists and contend that those who struggled during the 60’s and those we protest now are misled.
In Ecclesiastes 3:15 (NIV), Solomon writes, Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.
Now is the season for Black Americans to stand-up, not violently, but to protest until changes are made. The statement of purpose must be Enough Is Enough. As we look back over the years of murders, we must say as Rev. Al Sharpton said, “Get Your Knees Off Our Necks”, Enough Is Enough.
George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks must be the last. Systemic Racism must come to a end. We must support legislation proposed by the Black Congressional Caucus: Eliminate Choke Holds; Cease unnecessary force; create a date-base nationally on Police and their actions; and create judicial penalties for officers guilty of violating the rules.
There is real desire to recognize and respect the “Office of President and Vice-President of the United States of America”, but it is really difficult when we see the current holders of these offices and their race-baiting and acts of division within the country - literally calling for a Civil War.
We must educate and motivate people, especially Black Americans, to participate in bringing about a change by VOTING and voting right. Don’t be discouraged by the attempt to suppress the vote. VOTE!!!
Special thanks to AHERN Board of Directors Chairman, Rev. Dr. Harold Middlebrook, Sr., for his contribution.