Yes, we should learn from history, however you have to remember just that, history is the study of the past and does not define present day. I have seen some interviews and/or read articles of prominent black people, ie. Condoleeza Rice, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, Candace Owens and Morgan Freeman to name a few. The common theme is overall things have come a long way with regards to racism and these are from people who's families have actually live with it first hand. Also, it should be noted that all of these people are very successful. I acknowledge there is still racism today, and I doubt it will be ever fully eradicated from society. However, there is hope and you are part of that. Just how your parents have raised you to treat all people equally and to live by our country's founding, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” You will pass this on to your children.

 

Now in regards to white privilege, I guess you would include me in that misnomer since I also live in Sparta and have light colored skin tone. I would like to share some of my history. My paternal Grandfather came over from Italy through Ellis island with just $19 in his pocket. He took a job as a tailor saved enough money to bring his wife to America. Italians were discriminated back then. Called names like ginney, WOP and garlic eaters. You could say the same about Irish and the list goes on.

My grandparents had children and my father after coming back from WWII, started a business borrowing money from relatives. He would pick up used bags (we would call them “recycled” today) mend the holes and resell them or if they couldn't be repaired would open them into sheets and sell into the nursery trade for balling up root balls. He took on a partner, grew the business, burned down to the ground during the Vietnam war while producing sandbags on a Sunday and I still remember him coming home from the hospital with 2nd and 3rd degree burns and asking my mother if he was going to live. Today, my father has passed on, and the business has grown to 4 locations. My brother and I are at our desks at 6am and leave between 5-6 pm. The joke being we only work half a day.

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I have grown up in this business and have worked with many good people over the years and this is what I have seen. At one time we had a sizable work force of Haitians. They would put their children in Catholic schools even though being a unskilled worker earning low wages. One day I ask one of them why he did that. He said the public schools lacked discipline, had gangs, drugs etc. He also was very strict and would not let his children stay out late at night. His children are grown now and he was very proud of them. One became a policeman, one a fireman, one the manager of Home Depot and his daughter a hygienist. He retired a few years ago and passed on last year. At the wake his children paid him honor by thanking him for what they call, “tough love”. There were others like him. So to me it comes from setting you mind to what you want to do and work hard to achieve it.

 

In closing, one of the most powerful things you can for yourself and others is offering forgiveness. As Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” So I ask for us to not forget, but to forgive and move on.