Try as I might, I can’t recall a time when I either desired, or requested, to hire a spokesperson to represent my thoughts, words or deeds to others. This, however, did not stop Kate Payton from attempting to inject herself into that role with her Spiritual Reflections piece regarding Juneteenth and Solidarity. To Ms. Payton: You’re fired!
She started strong, but by the third paragraph, sadly, the wheels flew off the bus, sending it skidding from the roadway of historical accomplishments, careening haphazardly into the guardrail of COVID-19, ricocheting to black prison incarceration rates before finally plunging hopelessly down the cliffside of reason. All the while, familiar screams of white supremacy, white privilege and racism bellowed. What an addled mess.
I don’t admire those attempting to parlay virtue-signaling rhetoric into moral superiority. Nor do I respect those who trade in broad aspersions or demand that other people apologize for feelings of guilt they, themselves, might harbor. What rubbish! Apologize to your heart’s content for your own feelings or perceived shortcomings. We will speak for ourselves, thank you.
Lecturing the readers that racism (white-to-black) is endemic and that white-skinned people should be blamed for, and ashamed of, their “privilege” exposes you as a blatherskite. Privilege — some special right given to me without effort on my part? Well, sister, where is that again? My father? An immigrant. My wife? An immigrant. Both toiling endlessly for everything, as have I. Effort, sacrifice, determination and persistence got us here. That road had plenty of hills and valleys along the way.
Beyond mention of some legislation to address inequities, Payton provides little grist to back her feelings. Allow me to ask some questions.
Is it racism for one group of people to violently attack another group of people, attribute being skin pigment, at a rate nearly 10 times greater than the rate they were attacked by the other group (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2018)? Does incarceration happen to random, rule-following people sitting in their living room? Hardly!
Humans, like apples with different sizes, colors and taste, all belong to the same genus. The apple’s taste, like behavior in people, defines them. Color is but an attribute from birth, nothing more. Behavior is the differentiator — behavior is a choice and facts/trends matter.
Blamestorming solves nothing. Projection of guilt and empty apologies mean nothing. Like my father, I’ll help anyone who is willing to help themselves — color doesn’t matter.
Kurt von Schmidt-Pauli