Where we stop, nobody knows…
So I’m still reading the Tim Tyson book for the freshmen’s summer reading program and thinking about the recent bombings and goings on in the world, and thinking about how everything seems to keep going around and around in circles. There are a few passages that stuck out in the book.
One was when one of the guys comments that young people today had no idea what their elders had fought for to get them the rights that they enjoy. I couldn’t help but wonder if, when he was younger and going through the fight for civil equality, he appreciated the elders that came before him, and worked hard. Did he appreciate the slaves that did all they could to make a living for their family? Of course not, he spent his interview time going on about how the older generation neither understood his generation nor did anything about the subservient status of Blacks in 1960’s Oxford – he seemed to attribute all of the gains in the movement to the “Black Power” generation…grave mistake on his part.
The other couple of passages seemed incredibly relevant to the present.
Whites would blame Ben Chavis for nearly all the destruction that occurred in Oxford after the murder, but the African Americans who committed much of it actually held Ben Chavis in a curious mixture of respect and disdain. “He could talk and make them speeches…But he wasn’t down with no violence”(Tyson 202).
Then I insert “Americans” for “Whites” and “Muslims” for “African Americans,” and maybe “Oxford” for “The World” and notice how applicable this passage is to the anti-Islamic sentiment which has recently built up in America. Then it would say something about how Americans have taken to blaming the Islamic faith for the “terrorist” attacks that constantly threaten the country. Of course, none of us “educated” Americans feel this way, none of us “educated” Americans would ever assume that the bombings in London had anything to do with Islamic terrorists just because of what happened at the World Trade Center in September, right? Oddly enough, I’ve heard plenty of these same “educated” people express how racial profiling affects their comfort level on airplanes.
But the indisputable fact was that whites in Oxford did not even consider altering the racial caste system until rocks began to fly and buildings began to burn (Tyson 204).
I wonder if that is the way the world works. No one takes notice of the anger a person is feeling when they try to talk it out, they only notice the outburst afterwards and say something like “Well, you need to just learn how to use your words, you cranky cranky person!” I wonder, if the World Trade Center had never been crashed into, would most Americans have taken notice of the anger of this particular group of people? Sadly, we probably would not have, thereby making violent actions, or extreme terrorism, somewhat necessary to furthering the cause.
Personally, I’m all for taking the pacifist way around things because, well, I don’t like pain or discomfort – either my own or causing someone else’s pain or discomfort. Fortunately enough for people like Chavis, who didn’t “hold with no violence,” and me there are people who don’t mind terrorizing everyone a bit to get their point across. Or unfortunately enough…either way. Still, it’s interesting to note how pertinent the sentiments from 1970 still are 35 years later. Even if it isn’t the exact same situation, one would think people would learn from this situation. How did they end the terrorism then? That’s probably one big clue to keeping people from getting blown up left and right today.