If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of craziness, unbelievable tragedy, and incomprehensible things that have/are happening in on our Country.
With that said, I’m not going to talk about politics because we live in a democracy where we all bare responsibility to those who served, fought, and died for the freedoms that we have today. I truly don’t care what political party that you’re affiliated with. I’m talking about humanity.
What matters to me is that we come together for the “Greater Good of our Community”.
How? We must stop the hatred. Whether biblically speaking of hatred between brothers like Cain and Abel to people who were raised to hate. Hate creeps up when you least expect it and a lot of times it’s related to FEAR also known as “False Evidence Appearing Real”.
You may not even know how you truly feel because: either people have told you that certain people are evil, crazy, lazy, etc.; but in reality, you have no idea because you haven’t had a friendly conversation with “these people”. I’m talking about people from all walks of life (race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, income levels, disabilities, etc.), but deep inside you have a personal prejudice.
If this makes more sense, do you stay out of the ocean because you’re afraid of sharks or away from the woods because you’re afraid of bears? A lot of people will say “No”. Why? Because they’re not truly afraid of them and their desire to enjoy the surf and the great outdoors is more important. On the other hand, I’m terrified of sharks and have been since the movie “Jaws”. I don’t hate them, but I’m afraid and prefer to stay on shore to collect seashells. I felt that way about bears growing up until I actually saw them in their natural habitat. Bears are mammals just like us. When walking in the woods, so many of us make an effort to learn about wildlife and our fears subside the more we learn. Why can’t we make an effort to understand each other as human beings?
Let me put things into perspective as I wasn’t always so “open minded”. I was raised in a very white community. From a young age, I was teased for having bright red hair and I hated it, but I really haven’t thought much about it until recent years. Although I came from a working-class family and my father immigrated here from England as a child – I had it made! I didn’t know it then, but I now know that I was privileged to be white, with blue eyes and red hair. What if he immigrated from Honduras and I had brown eyes and brown hair, a darker complexion, and spoke broken English? Would you be reading this article?
In hindsight, I’m embarrassed for the person I was 33 years ago, as I had nothing to gripe about. I never thought that the day would come when I worried about the lives and future of people living in America; from minorities, farmers, to our National Security and everything in between.
I believe that our Country has traveled back in time to the 1950’s; as today’s youth, particularly young black men, along with minorities, and immigrants are the focus of senseless slayings, illegal imprisonment, and other unconstitutional violations in what is supposed to be “The Land of The Free”.
With my parents’ consent, I joined the Navy when I was 17 and lived with people from all walks of life. It gave me the opportunity to “Walk in other People’s Footsteps” and travel to third world countries. We as Americans have no idea how fortunate we are as they walked for miles every day and boiled water to drink, they didn’t have heaters or air conditioning, they hunted and foraged for their next meal, and fended off predators; need I say more? My travels and encounters changed my life! Until then, I had my blinders on.
You may not believe it, but when people are introduced to new situations, responsibilities, and opportunities, people truly can change.
After serving 21+ years, I retired in 2007 and started New Bern Now in 2009 to help promote the people, places, and happenings in our great town. I created it as place to share positive thoughts and ideas about the greater New Bern area.
Since then, there have been countless times when I wanted to speak up about racism, the unimaginable school shootings, and so many unjust topics in hopes to encourage others to reach out and unite people from different social, economic, and racial backgrounds. As I believe that with diversity comes unique perspectives and opportunities for all of us to learn from each other. It’s going to be hard, but I believe we can do it!
I wrote this article with the hope that you may consider how you truly feel when you cringe if someone of a certain race, religion, or other social standing is next to you in the grocery isle. Do you ask them how their day is going or do you avoid them at all costs? Ask yourself why do you feel this way. If you don’t know why, give me a call or send me an email and we can work on a way to start the conversation. Please know that your name will always remain anonymous as you are a treasured source in our community. We just need to be honest with ourselves and each other.
We only have one life to live and you’re the one who decides if it’s going to be lived in a small corner of the world or among so many wonderful, interesting, and talented people in our community. Join our efforts to reduce hatred, embrace diversity, and ultimately narrow the gap of discrimination in our community. This is not about politics, getting to know each other, helping those in need, and improving our way of life.
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