Recently we lost a great American, someone whose example calls on each of us to be a better citizen and ask more from our country and ourselves. I waited, checking the newspaper every day, to see two articles and a cartoon referring to Jerry Lewis’s contributions, with no mention of the passing of Dick Gregory.
This is the problem with my “liberal” community, and “liberal” ideals as a whole. The media is telling us how we must denounce white-supremacists — not white supremacy as an ideology, but the people who dare speak the dark tribal nature of their hearts — while white “liberals” are patting themselves on the back for being so much better than these “others.”
Mr. Gregory himself said, “For a black man, there’s no difference between the North and the South. In the South, they don’t mind how close I get, as long as I don’t get too big. In the North, they don’t mind how big I get, as long as I don’t get too close.”
Our nation is like a drunkard who numbs himself, avoiding some darkness in his past that he is unwilling to face, thereby destroying his future. As long as we continue to commit atrocities against those we allow ourselves to see as fundamentally different from us, we will never be truly strong as a nation, able to take on whatever our future holds.
Our diversity should be what makes us strong. I would ask my fellow Americans to step out of their routine this week and make an effort to have a conversation with someone you see as different from you, someone whose cultural influences may be different from yours, who may be educated or uneducated, older or younger, well-off or poor, who is more feminine or masculine, but who is very much your equal and has something to offer by their different perspective.
You will better know your neighbor, and better know yourself when you are done. You may find that rather than tolerating those who are different, you appreciate them.