If the words “You reap what you sow,” hold any truth, my pale skinned grandchildren will probably face a ‘mell of a hess’. For centuries, our European culture has modeled ways to treat minorities. I see no way to avoid a future when whites will be the minority population in the United States. This seems to be the way life works. Blocking dark skinned immigrants will not erase the outcome. The preverbal cow left the barn many years ago.
When I get down and dirty with the history of my European ancestors, I cringe with remorse over deplorable actions. Yes, of course our ancestors also did many wonderful and courageous deeds for which I am thankful. On the other hand, how any of us with white skin can claim to be superior remains a mystery to me. And, yet, an unrealistic assumption of being better and smarter than those with darker complexions seems buried in our psychics.
In John 8:32, I read, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Maybe the first step toward healing wrong assumptions requires facing the ungracious pages of our history.
How about slavery? A TED-ED video claimed that slavery in the Americas began in the late 1400’s and continued through the 1800’s. Prompted by a need for workers in cotton and tobacco fields, ten million Africans were brought as cargo to our continent. Before boarding ships, Africans were shaved and branded. White American Christians justified slavery on the ground that Africans existed only as inferior beings; not true people. This erroneous information was taught to both black and white children and continues to trickle down today.
1. Native Americans
A consideration of Native Americans tells that in 1819, the federal government initiated the Civilization Fund. The fund gave money to private agencies to begin to “Civilize the Indians”. In 1867, the commissioner of Indian Services convinced Congress that the best solution to the “Indian problem” would be to separate Indian children from their tribes and families. The goal, to assimilate” tribes into mainstream American life led to boarding schools, foster care and adoptions. Seemed like a good idea? Maybe that did not work out as well as intended.
On February 19, 1942, fear drove the federal government to install internment camps for all citizens of Japanese descent. Incarceration began in March 1942 and ended in 1945. Approximately 117,000 faced internment.
Once again, fear drives the federal government, as well as state agencies to prevent immigrants from entering the United States. I believe we have spawned years of anger and hostility from young immigrants separated from families. I refer to this as growing our own future terrorists. We “reap what we sow”. I find that thought to be a frightening scenario for a future I will not live to witness.
Only if we now begin to demonstrate compassion, will we possibly avoid receiving the full treatment we have given to minorities. The pendulum swings and our turn to be the minority population will most certainly come.
As I think of the future for my grandchildren, I see a ray of hope. If we teach our children and teens to extend kindness and generosity, they will sow their own seeds. Maybe individual acceptance and charity will pave the way for a smoother transition to the days when whites live as minority members of society. Our turn lies around the corner.
Harley Barbour. “The United States Should Prosecute Illegal Immigration As It Does Other Laws.”Time. July 2018.
Hazard, Anthony. “The Atlantic Slave Trade: What Few Textbooks Told You.” TED-ED. December 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NXC4Q_4JVg
“Historical Perspective.” ÎDAHO Department of Health and Welfare.
Martin, Philip. “Forced Removal of Native American Children from Parents Exposed in 13 Minutes.” WGBH. October 12, 2015. https://www.wgbh.org/news/post/forced-removal-native-american-children-parents-exposed-13-minutes
World War II National Archives, Historical Society of New Mexico Smithsonian Institute
“Japanese Internment.” History. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/japanese-american-relocation.