I watched the documentary on the Tulsa massacre last Monday; it was a tragic and shameful page in American history. May 31, 1921 was a Wednesday, the rampage ended on Thursday, June 1; these were good, god fearing christians we can assume they went to church on sunday. Two years later, a similar purge of the African American community occurred in Rosewood, Florida. These are just two of many blatant hate-motivated massacres of American citizens.
America’s glorious past is tainted and darkened by the blood of countless victims of racial hatred. Like the blood of Cain in the Bible, their blood cries out for justice. But we are responding with silent legislation. Prohibit the teaching of slavery in America; restrict the study of the impact of slavery on our society and culture; deny that systemic racism permeates the very fiber of life in America; refuse to integrate the study of critical race theory into the American history and social studies curriculum. Not a wise or effective approach to healing wounds after injustice.
When I watched the CBS documentary presented by Gayle King on Memorial Day, I felt America’s shame. I can, with a little imagination, understand why we would want to shield this generation from knowing the raw ugliness of our ancestors, our ancestors. But denying shame will not lead to healing. We have to face our past. Gayle King said that we must revisit the past in order to achieve a better future. We would raise a generation ignorant of the cancer that is infected in the very soul of America. If we don’t pay attention to cancer, it will destroy us.
America feels both guilt and shame. Guilt is when we feel we have done something wrong; shame is that we believe we are wrong. We deny both. In a Psychology Today article published on July 3, 2020, Andrea Brandt, Ph.D, MFT, listed five steps to curing shame. Denial was not one of them. They were (summarized in this writing) acceptance, understanding why, learning from the experience, forgiving your past self, and applying the lessons learned. I’m only talking about shame because America has yet to admit its guilt. We cannot hide from the past; we can be wrong, but we cannot hide it from God to whom we will one day have to give an account. Psalms 69:19 shares: “You know my shame and my dishonor”. He is the all-seeing God, nothing escapes his sight. Shame can be a positive, Psalm 83:16 postulates that shame prompts us to seek God.
History, says Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, is a weapon against amnesia that clogs the veins of American culture. (Not quoted verbatim)
Wouldn’t it be a better impact and a bigger cultural change to educate our children with truthful representations of our past. Wouldn’t that help them better understand where we are as a nation, where we are as a culturally diverse community, and why we have come to this. The God we serve, the God of our fathers is a God of justice. God is an avenger of the oppressed. In Isaiah 47: 3, speaking to Babylon: âYour nakedness will be uncovered, and your shame will be seen; I will take revenge and I will not arbitrate with a man â. So what do we have to gain by denying knowledge of our past to this generation and to generations to come?
We will have a nation of diverse peoples, ethnicities and cultures that is controversial and divided along ideological lines, high tensions between the marginalized and the privileged, and a generation in uniform that does not understand how or why we got here. to such a division. Not a pretty picture of beautiful America. Certainly not representative of the love of Christ.
Prohibiting the teaching of factual history, purging our American history textbooks with slavery, prohibiting the incorporation of critical race theory into the history and social studies curriculum, is deny this generation the critical data necessary to understand their place in the world.
Textbooks flow with the molding of the mind, the perspective that shapes the narrative of history and social justice. Textbooks are our children’s introduction and often the only exhibit that defines their understanding of the world. (Quote from another source)
Knowledge will promote unity, and unity is in God’s will and purpose. Scripture is full of this encouragement. Psalm 133: 1 says, âSee how good and pleasing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Our faith in our Lord and Savior makes us one family. Unity promotes peace, we must strive for it, urging it Ephesians 4: 3 tells us to strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:13, further encourages, ‘ until we all come to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the statue of the fulness of Christ. “
Denial of our past fosters disunity and conflict. Kissing it, tackling it promotes healing.