Divided we stand

Blog This

Robert La Valle Blog ThisPresident Obama’s inauguration offered great hope for many on the side of racial equality. It seemed to be a tangible indication that centuries of American racial tensions were finally easing. At the very least it was a huge step forward, one that I never thought I’d see. Sadly, after his two terms in office, not enough has changed.

Some voters saw beyond color, while for too many others, the contrast between black and white remains as stark as the day it was born. Comparable to our darkest days of racial segregation, instances of modern day police brutality not only create new wounds, they rip open old scars on the back of the entire civil rights movement.

Considering the depth of our modern day educational system along with our religions and man’s enormous technological achievements and advancements, when it comes to human rights we remain in the dark ages. Since the 1960’s racial boiling point, whatever “progress” has been made in racial relations seems to have dissipated into an atmosphere of overwhelming ignorance and fear.

Unfortunately, much of the dishonor hangs on those who really should know better — law enforcement individuals who were screened, hired and trained to serve and protect all people, regardless of religion or skin color. In the hands of authority, fear, guns, ignorance and lack of emotional control have proven to be a recipe for disaster. The current events of police brutality have knocked us back to the time when law officers used fire hoses and vicious attack dogs as if the people seeking equal rights were ferocious animals.

Shamed into taking legal action, America’s mid-century political leaders made a concerted effort to address and curtail racism, but the raising of our interracial consciousness has a long way to go. We like to think of our nation as “sophisticated,” but when it comes to controlling our emotions, we remain primitive.

How many more eulogies, candle lighting vigils, memorials, interfaith sermons and interracial treaties will it take to knock some sense into the ignorant minds of men? As it was 2,000 years ago, I fear that even a visit from the Son of God would do little to bring people together.

“Are you racially biased?” Most people I know would say, “absolutely not.” But according to world order, perhaps just beneath our thin layer of social sophistication, tolerance, acceptance and political correctness, most are — and some, far more than others, including those hired specifically to serve and protect.

Through the ages and throughout the world, man has been more inclined than not to create great divides between cultures, countries, races and religions. There is no doubt, as long as man continues to uphold old ways of intolerance, ignorance and separation, civility and peace will remain a dream.

The phrase, “United we stand, divided we fall,” has been understood for ages. It has been used several times in the New Testament as well as reiterated by the founders and leaders of every nation, but until we suffer a world-unifying event, such as a full-scale attack from extraterrestrial people eaters, it appears we’re doomed to find new ways to justify our differences rather than celebrate our similarities.

You may reach Robert La Valle at [email protected]

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