Dr. E. Faye Williams
TriceEdney – If one accepts the fact that there’s no excuse or rationale for abject hatred that promotes or justifies the murder of any human being, then the hate-based murder of 49 innocent souls in Orlando is incomprehensible. That massacre, and others, represents a stain on our national consciousness and blight on our national spirit.
Earlier in my life, our national embarrassment was the contradiction between our nation’s stated belief in “God-given inalienable rights” for all and our resignation to a general acceptance of the average white person’s hatred of Black people. Even when not publicly expressed, we could see and experience that type of hatred through the “Institution of Slavery” and, when made illegal, its more insidious progeny, “Jim Crow.”
When many whites weren’t so public in their expression of hatred toward us, too many were satisfied with maintaining systematic control over our quality of life which resulted in a myriad of problems, including depressed wages and income, inferior educational services, denied opportunities for social and cultural parity and the establishment of a superior/inferior social contract between Blacks and whites. Because we have been conditioned to accept it as routine or normal, hatred and its manifestations have created a fertile field for its growth in our lives.
Historically, we have seen these same hatreds extended to Asians, Jews, Italians, Irish, Native Americans, Arabs and the general group of people we label as Hispanics. Almost without exception, those who’ve been distinguished by color or complexion, religion, language or non-Anglo names still fall victim as members of “out-groups.”
I don’t present my argument as a convoluted excuse of any act of terror. I don’t defend what happened in the massacre in Orlando. However, I find it telling that a US-born man of Afghan heritage would, as he randomly slays those near him, spare the lives of most Black people, yet murders mostly Hispanics. If we are to believe what we have been told about the killer being a self-radicalized Jihadist, we must analyze his reasons for taking and sparing lives.
As I understand it, the Jihadist mindset is established upon a fundamental opposition to Western cultural dictums and imperatives. These beliefs, along with a faith-based intolerance of homosexuality, have led to a deadly mix. Can it, then, be correctly inferred that the killer was operating from the perspective that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend?” Did the killer see Blacks as kindred spirits and fellow-victims of an oppressive, hate-filled “Western Devil?” If these assumptions are true, then the legacy of our home-grown hatred is a contributory factor to the acts of this man.
We must look in the mirror to assess our role, if any, in this recent tragedy. We must take a critical look at what we are teaching those who follow us. If we, as some of our politicians are doing, de-value the lives and existence of others based upon their differences of religion, ethnicity, race, country of origin or other artificial qualifiers of their humanity, we lend to the hatred and subsequent violence that continues to visit our door.
In this country, we must take a critical look at how our public dialogue/discourse treats others. Does it value life and seek commonality instead of conflict? Do we speak of facts learned through investigation, interaction, and inquiry or do we conjecture from stereotype? Do we blindly follow the example of xenophobic demagogues like Donald Trump or do we step out with our God-given commonsense and make meritorious decisions based upon fact? Hatred is no longer just Black and white. It’s as complex as our world has become.
Of this I’m sure, unmitigated hatred reduces the value of life for us all and diminishes our ability to face the challenges of our increasingly diverse world.
Dr. E. Faye Williams can be reached at: 202-678-6788, or at www.nationalcongressbw.org