America Will Rise Or It Will Fall On Racism

America will rise or fall on this: whether or not we will put to bed — at long last — the perpetual issue of racism that plagues our nation like an infected, unsightly sore that stubbornly refuses to heal. We have decompressed the wound with the abolition of slavery. We briefly dressed it with the salve of Reconstruction before Jim Crow ripped the scab off and spat in it for 100 years. We have treated it with Acts of Congress, desegregation, and affirmative action. Yet the wound lingers still — festering and giving our nation and our social order the foulest of smells and the ugliest of sores. The germs that teemed on the surface of our wound have now infected our collective national blood — bringing both the left and right side of our collective selves to a fevered rage and much of our political leadership to toxic delirium and prostrating confusion, as the abscess on our minds and psyches grow. And we will surely die as a nation without prompt and effective treatment.

Abandon all hope that we can continue to live this way. Abandon all hope that we can continue to shoot black men pulled over by the police and paralyze white ones by ensnaring them by the tongue and tender parts with words and images formerly or even presently said and presented (as though their just condemnation will heal us) and still maintain this nation. Abandon all hope that our leaders can fan the flames of racial hatred and not burn our whole nation down. And abandon all hope that we can permanently detach the youngest of children from their mother’s and father’s comforting bosoms in the name of border security and still receive the blessings and trust of The Living God to be hegemons of the “free” world. This cannot be. This will not be.

We need a new narrative — a cogent, truthful narrative that is authentic and unifying; that pursues justice and mercy in equal measure and which bears witness to the undeniable and essential need for the intervention of the Almighty God in this matter in order for such a wicked wound to heal. And that narrative is this:

The European world — empowered by the capacities of large sailing vessels, the destructive power of the gun, the efficiencies of the cotton gin, the seemingly irresistible temptation of immense financial profit, and the legitimizing potency of British common and American constitutional law perverted, misapplied, and distorted — to the benefit of a ruling few — embarked (on its own volition) upon implementing, disseminating, and maintaining a self-serving system of unprecedented and unparalleled evil upon certain members of the human race resembling themselves in every single way except for the color of their skin. This system, now spanning 400 years from initiation, through implementation, and now deep into consequence, sent between 12 to 15 million souls to their enslavement or death at sea in “The Middle Passage” to that enslavement. It bound more than 4.2 million human beings in lifelong cruel labor in America, bereft of any compensation other than the resources necessary for their debasing subsistence. Its societal rules, customs, and mores left the people of African decent physically assaulted, sexually abused, educationally excluded, psychologically traumatized, and grossly economically exploited. The lingering consequences have left the living descendants of this system swaddled in a demonic quilt of wounds, doubts, lack, violence, and self-hate — a truth that any sentient African-American and many Whites hold to be self-evident.

But in the glare of the horror of what has been inflicted upon the African and African-American victims, we have failed to turn sufficient attention to the effects of this injustice on those inflicting it, forgetting — or at least seemingly refusing to remember — that what is sown is reaped. We have failed to see that, in establishing and perpetuating so foul a system, their European and European-American forbears enslaved their own children and grandchildren to a legacy of deep and firmly adherent shame of a most ignominious past and a level of fear that leaves them alternating between the flight from black engagement and the fight against black power and self-determination. The enslavement of shame and fear are hidden from many with a mask of hatred, which is merely the covering shame and fear wear when they do not want to have their countenance seen or their presence known. This sinister arrangement bears a most oppressive force upon the present-day African-American while his White-American counterparts remain largely shackled to its infamy and its power to damn through comfort, convention, and anxiety over change.

The new unifying narrative demands acknowledgment and clarity in this matter; namely, that the cost of enslaving a people without redressing the injustice is becoming enslaved yourself to the shame of the evil and the fear of consequence, victim retribution, and Divine judgment. This narrative expresses the certain conclusion that the only way to liberate Blacks from the burden of oppression and whites from the enslavement of the shame and pain of it is to justly compensate the descendants of America’s black slaves through a Reparation process and to use the resolution of this lingering matter to empower the liberation of White America from shame, fear, willful ignorance, and judgment and to obtain forgiveness and true freedom. This narrative is revolutionary because, not only does it hold that both of these outcomes are mutually essential, but it places neither outcome as being more important than the other to a color-blind, loving Christ. This narrative insists on national unity as a fruit of its good work, and it understands that the affairs of this great nation have evolved exactly has God has either orchestrated or allowed so that it would be impossible for either racial party to extract themselves from their present predicament without acting in significant part out of authentic love and for the benefit of the other, so that no group could boast and so that God — and God alone — would be glorified in it. Some will say this is impossible, but anything that is essential is possible.

Stay tuned. Keep the faith. A change gonna come…

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Darryl L. Fortson, M.D. is the Executive Director of AASRT, Inc. - a 501(c)3 organization - that collects, monitors, and disburses American slave Reparations.

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Darryl Fortson

Darryl Fortson

Darryl L. Fortson, M.D. is the Executive Director of AASRT, Inc. - a 501(c)3 organization - that collects, monitors, and disburses American slave Reparations.

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