Will you join me?
On June 23, The Express ran a front-page article by Chris Morelli entitled, “Bellefonte residents show support for Red Raider Mascot.”
This article allowed me to reflect on my own childhood teachings. Feelings of sadness floated up for me. Allow me please, the courtesy of explaining. Our neighborhood had one white kid who was fatherless … unusual in a white suburb in the early 60s. So my father adopted “Fred.” He was about 10 years old; I was 7. Fred was robust, certainly stockier; I a skinny kid. He turned out to be a neighborhood bully and nearly drowned me.
Eventually, Fred sought employment with the police department and was hired. Saturday nights were a field day for Fred and so many times he returned to my father’s home to boast of “pistol whipping” people of color in the town. He referred to them by using the “N” word. These were lessons in racism. I learned racism and hatred begin in the home, where it can be passed from one generation to the next. If left unchecked, it becomes toxic.
Sad. I bring that childhood experience to the conversation regarding the Red Raider Mascot.
And, I ask:
— What would it feel like to be an indigenous person, in a community where your heritage is used for gain?
— What has happened to the indigenous people who occupied these lands before whites arrived here?
My soul, as I stand before my Creator, is at stake here. I have choices: I can remain wedded to lessons of hatred that harm my soul or I can reject those lessons and pray.
I pray that each of us find and consult the still small voice of the One who exists at our core. I pray that we choose love over hate. that we choose inclusion. I seem to recall a man who once walked the earth … say about 2,000 years ago … and was rejected?
I don’t recall His name.
Will you join me in prayer?