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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Seeds of Propensity


Two Letters to Mary Angel
(taken from my personal journal)


January 11, 1998 1:10am


Dear Mary Angel,


I wrote a letter to the President a few weeks ago and I'm still debating on whether or not to actually send it. It's a harmless letter. I don't know why I even bothered to write it as I don't particularly like him and I sure didn't vote for him. I guess my main concern is a sense of hypocrisy lying just below the surface of my apparent intention to write him in the first place. For example, there are undoubtedly a great number of persons who privately curse the President but when standing face to face with the man will smile, shake his hand and tell him to keep up the good work. A good portion of these same people would probably even frame a picture of themselves shaking hands with the man and give a prominent place to it on a wall or mantle in their homes and brag to the same people before whom they had bad-mouthed the man in front of just days or weeks before. I don't want to be one of those people.

It's true, I don't really like Mr. Clinton. I don't agree with at least ninety percent of his policies, and I feel he is the least sincere president we've had since Nixon, but that's neither here nor there. The fact remains that despite all the crap this man has had slung at him he has remained focused, eloquent and steadfast in his belief that he is doing what is best. I must admire him for
that if nothing else.

Last month Mr. Clinton held one of his notorious town hall meetings where the deck was stacked invariably in his favor. The topic? Racial intolerance. This just happens to be a sore subject with me because I am so tired of being hated because of the color of my skin.

I can hear them now..."Hey whitey! How's it feel now the shoes on the other foot?"

It's not my fault that millions of native Africans were stolen from their homeland and sold into slavery thousands of miles away. I wasn't raised to view black people as inferior. My father was not a southerner by birth or lineage. None of my direct descendants ever, to my knowledge, owned a slave. They were all dirt-poor farmers in the mountains of West Virginia.

As a man in the military, my fathers children were bussed to predominantly black schools as a matter of policy. What I learned at these schools is that the hatred of color is not exclusive to whites. The black culture is just as guilty, and that is what my letter to the President was about.

I felt that if he was serious about wanting to see an end to racial intolerance that there were a few things he needed to do to ensure that goal. There have been enough martyrs on both sides of the issue. God is not concerned with color and neither should we.

At the heart of this issue is Evil. In the letter, I described this evil as a "Seed of Propensity," as it is inherent in every human heart. In the "Gulag Archipelago," Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote, "Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties - But right through every human heart - and through all human hearts."

Given ten more generations and we'd still be no more nearer to wiping out the negative memories of slavery from our social consciousness; not if we continued to allow the seedier elements of entertainment and culture a welcome seat at the table. But America courts bad behavior because it's 'sexy'. So to erase the memory of racism we must endeavour to remember the past, and begin to reeducate this nation. It must begin tomorrow, with Kindergarten. It should be continually reinforced day in and day out to war against the effects the uncouth will have on their children outside the classroom. Such an endeavor would take a minimum of three generations provided the nation approached it with the fanaticism of a Communist Bloc nation, as well as eradicate the teachers unions, and put God back in the classroom. When the days of segregation and intolerance are as beyond physical memory as the Civil War, perhaps then our children's children's children will be truly free.

...and I am so tired. Till next time.

With love,


Eric



-----

May 1998 12:37am


Dear Mary Angel,

When we younger and learning to love and care for one another, our minds were yet filled with the views and dogmas handed down to us by our parents. Regardless of what we may believe to the contrary we were nonetheless guided by the ideals of those who raised us. For good or ill we were what our parents made us. For most people these belief systems will be with them their entire lives; very few can honestly say that they have broken away and learned to think for themselves.

When I was young and growing up as a military brat, I was not, for the most part, exposed to people of different skin colors, nor was I taught to call black people 'Niggers.' Regardless of my parents personal opinions, color was a non-issue-- The military demanded it. That's just the way it was. I would have been beaten if that word had slipped past my lips, and rightly so.

Upon entering Jr. High, I was suddenly surrounded by black children. If I was frightened at all by this it was because of its strangeness. Suddenly I was among people who hated me; not because I stuttered, but because of the color of my skin! By the time I graduated from High School I had picked up a measure of prejudice, and the measure acquired was of equal parts peer pressure, and retaliatory response.

It's easy to hate someone who hates you. It goes back to what is taught in the bible; you reap what you sow. Some eastern cultures call it Karma. Well, I don't want to be burdened by another person's perceptions of what the color of my skin means to them... It isn't fair to me. It isn't fair to them.

I can somewhat understand the black man's point of view and, to that point, reluctantly share it, for our nation has not been kind to him, and how black perceives white is understandable, if not wholly justified. I tell myself I can't look at persons of African descent and say 'Nigger,' and yet I have, to my own shame. Neither he nor I deserve to be judged by the color of our skin.

I have never owned a slave, but I'm blamed for it every day. I've never deliberately tried to hold a black person back from achieving his dreams, but I am blamed for it nonetheless, and made to feel guilty for what I am innocent of.

He and I are both helpless to change it. I will try my damnedest not to teach my children prejudice but they will learn it anyway. No matter how hard he tries to do the same, his children too will learn. It is in our nature to demonstrate prejudice, for each of us carries within us that seed of propensity, which is Evil... All thanks to Adam.

Today, I can thankfully say that I don't dislike blacks anymore than I do whites, or anyone else for that matter. I am an equal-opportunity despiser; trash is trash regardless of it's origin, or its coat of paint; and in my own defense, I am only human. I have a seed of goodness within me as well. But it all boils down to this: "Which seed do I nurture?"

The world isn't getting any smaller and with racial tensions as they are, what chance do any of us have at living full, productive, and genuinely loving lives when we, by nature, pass our fears on to our children.

For which they pay the price.


With all my love, sweet Mary Angel,


Good night,


Eric

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