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By Special to the AFRO

I watched the Tulsa Massacre documentary last Monday;  it was a tragic, shameful page in America’s history. May 31, 1921 was on a Wednesday, the rampage ended on Thursday June 1; these were good, God fearing Christian people, we can presume that they went to church on Sunday. Two years later a similar purging of the African American community  occurred in Rosewood, Florida. These are just two of the many egregious hate-driven massacres of American citizens. 

America’s glorious past is stained  and darkened by the blood of countless victims of racial hatred. Like the blood of Cain in the Bible, their blood cries out for justice. But we answer with hush legislation. Forbid the teaching of slavery in America; restrict study of the impact slavery has had on our society and culture; deny that systemic racism permeates the very fiber of life in America; refuse to incorporate the study of Critical Race Theory into the curriculum of American  History and social studies. Not a  wise or effective approach to healing the wounds past injustice. 

When I watched the CBS documentary hosted by Gayle King on Memorial Day, I felt the shame of America. I can, with a stretch of imagination, understand why we would want to shelter this generation from knowing the raw ugliness of our ancestors, our foreparents. But denying the shame will not lead to healing. We must come to grips with our past. Gayle King said that we must revisit the past in order to realize a better future. We would raise a generation ignorant of the cancer that is festering in the very soul of America. If we do not give attention to the cancer, it will destroy us. 

America feels  both guilt and shame. Guilt is when we feel we have done something wrong; shame is we believe we are wrong. We deny both. In a Psychology Today article posted July 3, 2020, Andrea Brandt, Ph.D, M.F.T., listed five steps to healing shame. Denial was not one of them. They were, (summarized in this writing)  acceptance, understanding of why, learning from the experience, forgiveness of your past self and apply the lessons learned. I am only addressing the shame because America has not yet conceded to the guilt. We cannot hide from the past; we may deceive ourselves, but we cannot hide it from God to whom we must one day give an account. Psalms 69:19 shares, “ You know my shame, and my dishonor.” He is the God who sees all, nothing escapes His view. Shame can be a positive,  Psalm 83:16 posits that  shame causes us to seek God. 

History, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson says, is a weapon against the amnesia that clogs the veins of America’s culture. (Not quoted verbatim)

Would it not be a better and a more cultural changing impact to educate our children with truthful representations of our past. Would it not help them to  better understand where we are as a nation, where we are as a community of diverse cultures and why we have come to this point. The God we serve, the God of our fathers is a God of justice. God is an avenger of the oppressed. In Isaiah 47:3, speaking to Babylon, “Your nakedness will be uncovered, and your shame will be seen; I will take vengeance, and I will not arbitrate with a man.” So what do we gain by prohibiting the knowledge  of our past to this generation and the generations to come? 

We will have a nation of diverse peoples, ethnicities and cultures that is  contentious and divided along ideological lines, elevated tensions between the marginalized and the privileged, and an uniformed generation that does not understand how or why we have come to such divisiveness. Not a pretty picture of America the beautiful. Certainly not representative of the love of Christ. 

To prohibit the teaching of factual history, to purge our textbooks of America’s history with slavery, to prohibit incorporating Critical Race Theory into the curriculum of history and social studies is to deny this generation critical data necessary for understanding their place in the world. 

Textbooks flow with mind-molding, perspective shaping narrative of history and social rightness. Textbooks are our children’s introduction and often the only exposure that defines their understanding of the world. (Quote from another source)

Knowledge will promote unity, and unity is in the will and purpose of God. Scripture is full of that encouragement. Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Our faith in our Lord and Savior makes us of one family. Unity promotes peace, we are to strive for it, press for it. Ephesians 4:3 tells us to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:13, further encourages,  ‘til we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the statue of the fullness of Christ.” 

Denial of our past promotes disunity and strife. Embracing it, coming to grips with it promotes healing.

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