Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
I grew up singing that little song. It made me feel special knowing that Jesus loved me — even if my white neighbors didn’t. In the 50’s, my parents moved to a single family home in a predominantly white West Baltimore neighborhood. My parents had good jobs, spoke the King’s English and always kept our white marble steps clean. You’d think this would have been enough to earn us a “welcome to the neighborhood” from our new neighbors. But it didn’t. I watched as, one by one, white families moved out to make room for the black families moving in. In a short time, the neighborhood went from majority white to all-black, as it is today.
It must be difficult, if you were not born in the 50’s or 60’s, to understand why racial tensions between blacks and whites are resurfacing in mostly poor black communities in this country. For starters, blame it on the fact that America has never fully come to terms with its race problem. At its heart, America is still a racially polarized nation. Clearly, racial tensions have festered beneath the surface of our national consciousness for some time. Witness the recent deaths of black men at the hands of white policemen. It’s not the first time it’s happened. The videos have been disturbing, and the cases keep growing as writer Kerman Maddox points out:
The list of cases keeps growing. The latest is Freddie Gray in Baltimore. I started my count with Trayvon Martin, in 2012. Last year, it was John Crawford III, in Dayton, Ohio; Eric Garner, Staten Island; Michael Brown, Ferguson, Mo.; Tamir Rice ( just 12 years old), Cleveland; Ezell Ford, South Los Angeles. This year, besides Scott and Gray: a homeless man, “Cameroon,” on L.A.’s skid row; Tony Terrell Robinson, in Wisconsin; Eric Harris, in Oklahoma.
And let’s not forget the horrifying video of Walter Scott who was murdered in cold-blood by a white policeman in North Charleston, S.C.
Back in 1903, Harvard educated scholar and black activist the late Dr. W.E.B. DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folks that the problem of 20th century America is the color line ( i.e. racism, race relations, and racial exploitation). But not even Dr. DuBois could have seen far enough into the future to know that the color line would still be a problem in 21st century America. So was black progress in the 60’s merely social window dressing?
Many Americans don’t want to admit it, but I’ll say it: segregation is still around. Sometimes by design. And sometimes by choice. Let me be clear, this isn’t the segregation of my parent’s era. It’s not a legally mandated and enforced system backed by public figures like former Alabama George Wallace, who famously said, “Segregation today. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever,” to resounding applause, in 1963.
The “whites only” signs have ceased to lurk over water fountains, bathrooms, and restaurant counters. Yet, 21st-century segregation exists overtly in our school systems, communities, and prisons. It also permeates our society in ways we don’t even realize. — Journalist Reniqua Allen
It almost feels like it did in the turbulent 60’s when blacks marched in the streets for the civil rights that had long been denied them. Those earlier marches were largely peaceful. Now, the anger and frustration is palpable and growing in the black community. And it’s not just because of the recent police brutality against black citizens; it’s a culmination of all the other racially motivated injustices that blacks face every day. Blacks are tired of being beat down just because they’re black. Whites have no idea what that’s like. How could they when white privilege continues to blind them to the truth.