- by Rev. Gil Caldwell -
"We misunderstand racism completely if we do not understand that racism is a mask for a much deeper problem involving not the victims of racism but the perpetrators." and, "Once we thought that segregation and racism were the same thing, and that when segregation was done away with,racism would be done away with, too." - Julian Bond
It has become evident that even with legislation and rulings for inclusion, equality, and equal access... racism, as well as sexism, heterosexism, and classism, remain.
Why is that often, those who are most vigorous in proclaiming their American patriotism, respect for the Constitution, love of the flag and American exceptionalism, seem to be fearful of the USA becoming the nation we claim to be? What is it about including equally those who have been excluded historically, that causes brave people to become fearful, those who are logical and rational to become illogical and irrational, and good people to become less-than-good, when efforts are made to include the excluded?
Given the Supreme Court decision on DOMA and California's Proposition 8, my hope is that there will emerge a mighty coalition of people of color, women, LGBTQ persons and those who are the allies of persons in these three groups, that will work to turn the nation upside down, so that it will be right side up. Even though the Court stuck down DOMA and invalidated Proposition 8 as I and many had hoped, there is something "sick" about our nation that requires the expenditure of so much blood, sweat and tears by some, in order for the nation to become the nation that we pretend we are.
James Baldwin raised a question that is relevant as never before; "Who wants to be integrated into a burning house?"There is something "burning" in the "USA house." May all of us who have been/are kept out of that house, not be satisfied because we are let in. Rather, let us claim and use our symbolic fire extinguishers, not to "save the USA house" as it is, but rather to put out its fires so that we might re-design, re-construct and re-build it for ourselves and those who will follow us.
This last week in June 2013, whether we are concerned about affirmative action and/or voting rights, immigration, the rights of women, marriage equality, food stamps for the poor, etc., etc., could be/ought be the beginning of a "Movement" of persons and groups. Conservatives, moderates and liberals, who like Fannie Hamer say; "We are sick and tired of being sick and tired" (Of dreams deferred).
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress" - Frederick Douglass
. . .The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell is a retired United Methodist Minister who lives in Asbury Park, N.J. He was active in the Massachusetts unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and participated in the civil-rights movement throughout the nation. In 2000, he, with others, organized the RMN Extension ministry United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church (UMOC), an organization committed to the full inclusion of LGBT people in every aspect of church and society. His recent book, Something Within: Works by Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell is available from Church Within A Church.