America is a country that is full of contradictions that for the most part originated out of slavery. These contradictions are manifested in racism that exposes the social injustice against the background of cherished American values that were used to establish the Republic. Values like justice, equality, and freedom for example have been at the center of contradictions with respect to black life in America.
One contradiction that shows up in American culture is hatred. It is a contradiction because it conflicts with the Christian beliefs of many Americans and the perception of America as a country that is compassionate, a defender of the oppressed, and peace loving. The media would make you believe that hatred exists only abroad in the Middle East or Muslim countries and not in America. Most Americans tend to believe this, as they are quick to condemn such hatred abroad and not the hatred at home. This is presumably because hatred at home is linked to racism.
Hatred is without doubt the most destructive negative behavior that a person can demonstrate. Whether it is the kind of hatred that resulted in the Holocaust of World War II or hatred on a smaller scale, Americans are well familiar with the destructive force of hatred. This familiarity comes from the violent atrocities that occur frequently at home and abroad.
History documents plenty of examples where hatred has resulted in human rights abuse, genocide, and the annihilation of entire cultures. In recent times such hatred was demonstrated by Al Qaeda atrocities (the 9/11attack on the World Trade Center in New York) and by ISIS (beheadings of journalist and other barbaric acts). These acts of hatred have reinforced the belief of many Americans that hatred is limited to these groups and do not exist in this country.
The hatred that has resulted in atrocities are not limited to Al Qaeda and ISIS, it exists also in America. This domestic hatred, which manifests itself as racism and other atrocities, is inherent in American society. From the beginning of the Republic, hatred has manifested itself in lynching, violence, racism, and social injustices against blacks. We were shockingly reminded of this last week when a 21-year-old white man Dylan Roof shot and killed nine black people during a prayer meeting in their historic African Methodist Episcopalian (AME) church at Charleston, South Carolina.
The atrocity that Dylan Roof unleashed on the nine black people in Charleston, South Carolina is a reminder that black people are still hated in America. This hatred that is fueled by racism dates back to slavery. Although the abolition of slavery ended a barbaric institution that dehumanized slaves and stigmatized generations of blacks, its impact is still with us. The reason for this is that slavery and racism has never been reconciled and atoned for. This is a challenge that America must meet in order to stop this hatred at home.
When Americans see only the hatred of Al Qaeda and ISIS but do not see the hatred at home, then this represent a deception and denial of racism, which breeds hatred. It is hypocrisy for America to call people abroad haters while it still has haters at home. Hatred is hatred regardless of where it is found and regardless of the degree it is perpetrated. To begin the effort of eradicating racism and its hatred at home requires unity at home. Unfortunately, we have not seen this unity from our politicians because of the degree of hatred they indulge in. This is evidenced with the behavior of some politicians who have spent more time dividing the country because of their dislike of President Obama.
From President Obama’s first term into his second term, there has been a relentless crusade to destroy his presidency. This crusade is seen as part of the hatred that is associated with the president’s race. There can be no other explanation because the disrespect, conspiracy theories, and schemes to undermine any policy or agenda the president promotes are unprecedented. One has to ask the question if the president of the United States of America is disliked so much because he is a black man, what about the dislike for ordinary black folks? Perhaps the answer is the reason why we have seen an increased number of incidents of police abuse or brutality on black men and the killing of nine black people in a church.
If America is to make a genuine effort to stop racism and the hatred it perpetuates, then it must stop denying racism and acknowledge that it is a real stain on the fabric of American culture. Much work is needed to do this if America is to stop the domestic hatred that demonizes black people and results in murder and physical violence against them. America cannot fight hatred abroad while it ignores hatred at home.
In the aftermath of the killing of the nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, the Confederate flag has become the focus of the debate. This was a reaction no doubt to the media showing a picture of Dylan Roof waving the flag. The irony of this is that Roof used a gun (given to him as birthday gift by his father) to kill nine innocent people yet there is no outcry of gun violence and a call for gun reform.
It is indisputable that the Confederate flag is a controversial symbol that is offensive to black people. Some corporations like Walmart and Amazon.com have pulled the flags from their stores. We have not heard of any corporation doing the same for guns though. Even if the Confederate flag were to be outlawed that would not address the more pervasive problem of racism and hatred.
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