Acknowledge the past. Build a better future.

I must put this disclaimer first before the words that will follow. I certainly hope and pray that I will not upset, ostracize or anger anyone who chooses to read this.

If you’ve been with me this long, my gut tells me that you are a fair, rational, critical thinker who contemplates and processes information. A person who welcomes all viewpoints and opinions, even when they might oppose or challenge your own.

If I’ve described you, read on. If that portrayal doesn’t fit you, stop now.

I’m struggling with systemic racism, haters and those who want to erase the past.

I’m trying to understand why we would remove Aunt Jemima from the label of the pancakes and syrup. Aunt Jemima was brought to life by Nancy Green – a storyteller, cook and missionary – who was hired to promote the products.

Nancy Green was the first living trademark in the advertising world according to AAREG. Thanks to Nancy, pancakes became very popular. She won awards and earned certificates because her booths were so popular at fairs.

To me, she is an icon. She is an example of someone who made it – in 1893 – and she was colored. Bravo! We should continue to celebrate – not erase – her from history.

Isn’t it an insult to remove Nancy from the label? Isn’t it disregarding her success, eradicating her accomplishments?

Now the Cleveland Indians are changing their name to the Guardians. Why? Isn’t it a compliment to have a sports team named after you?

For me, there are those who view things through a positive or a negative lens. There are those who unite, and those who divide. Those who search out problems and those who see solutions. Those who say it can’t be done and those who ask for a chance to try.

I can’t help but feel as if racism and civil divide is being fueled and enabled.

Maybe I have no place saying this because I’m not a minority, or gay, or classify as anything other than me. I do have Mic Mac ancestry, so there is that. And I subscribe to many education outlets to learn more about the Mic Macs as a people.

I am a female, so there is that, too. But I’d been fortunate to succeed in a man’s world and had no need to grow bitter. I didn’t feel repressed, belittled or that I was anything but capable and competent.

When I failed, it was because I failed – not because I was victimized because I was a female.

Maybe I was lucky – or maybe many look for problems. Maybe they harbor bias or prejudice, a defensive nature or an attitude problem.

Yes, there will always be those who keep others down – whether it is because of race, gender, religion, sex, sexual orientation, education or, simply because they don’t like you.

Haters will hate. Period. No matter what. It’s a guarantee.

And no matter how many names you change, statues you eradicate or activism movements you participate in – it won’t change it. It may force some to comply. It may change a law or two. But those people who hate will still hate and still find a way to convince others to be victims.

There is a difference between a person harassed and a person who decides to become a victim. It is a choice. Whether rich or poor, black or white, male or female, etc.

Don’t be a victim, rise above. Fight back with class, dignity and courage. You can be the exception.

There are more decent, than evil, people.

Maybe if we all came together as a human race. Maybe if we make a conscious decision to remove the race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, education level or any other divisive quality, we could actually unite.

I don’t feel guilty for what white people did long before I was born. I feel more than bad. I am disgusted. But I wasn’t there and that’s not me or my family. We aren’t responsible, despite our remorse and pity.

I’m more upset by the fact that I now wonder when I walk down the street and say hi to a colored person if s/he hates me and thinks I’m a racist.

The current propaganda is infecting my mind, but not poisoning my heart. Inclusivity, diversity and individualism have been honored and cherished by me since I was a child.

I asked my mother why all the dolls were white. Where were the colored and Asian dolls?

I studied international protocol to learn why people say and act as they do. Why Asians are superstitious about the 13th floor and why Latinos are fashionably late. And let it be known that those generalizations don’t apply to all – just some.

I want to know you. I want to learn about you and I want us to get along.

But I can’t bring myself to respect those who choose to cower, fall victim and want to turn us all against each other. Those who incite and fuel hate.

My biggest weakness, which is also a strength, is seeing and weighing all sides. I can watch Fox and CNN. I can listen to liberals and conservatives. I don’t believe in vaccine mandates, yet I’m vaccinated and will continue to booster. I don’t hate or disregard any of them because they all have something to offer and make points for us to ponder.

But I do love my country – no matter who is at the helm. I am a patriot. And I admire people of strength – people who have succeeded in the face of adversity. People who have thrived when others thought they wouldn’t survive. People from all over the globe, of all colors, nationalities, races, religions and sexual orientations.

A woman like Tamyra Mensah-Stock who not only won the U.S.A. Olympic medal, but was awarded the Fox Nation Patriot Award. Why had I not heard more about her before tonight? Because of the conservative lean? Tamara was exemplary as an athlete and an American. What an honor – what a role model.

And Winsome Sears? She’s Jamaican by birth. She was a U.S. Marine. And she is a black conservative. Why aren’t our political leaders shouting her name from the mountaintops? Crickets. What an honor – what a role model.

Don’t erase the past. Acknowledge it. Don’t get caught up in this political, racial and social divide, build a better future.

Take a moment, breathe, remove any biases and join the human race. Together, we will create the world – not only the country – we want to live in.

Author: E.M. Murphy

A freelance writer, coach, eternal seeker and Renaissance soul who aims to open minds and hearts. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a NASM Certified Behavior Change Specialist, humanity and humor is at the heart of my writing, reminding us that the key to success will always start with a genuine concern for others while making sure to be true to our authentic selves.

2 thoughts on “Acknowledge the past. Build a better future.”

  1. I respect your feelings and beliefs, and I love you. So what I say is just me bantering my opinion. I have mixed feelings about the America I was taught, and the America I have come to know. I too have grown up with these familiar icons in advertising and statues from the revolutionary war. I am very aware that my whiteness provides me with more opportunity than a black man. I also know and have seen that people feel more comfortable amongst their own kind. I have the privilege of being born in this country, and have not had to deal with systematic racism of myself or my family. In my younger years having grown up in a home where the N word was comfortability uttered with no backlash, and TV comedians like Don Rickles and the like, uttering all kinds of vial racial slurs’ made me desensitized to how it came across to others. As I have aged and hopefully grown in wisdom, I have learned more of the truth behind our nations’ rise to so called greatness. We still have a lot to learn. Not to say that we haven’t done some great things as a country, but we at home have not grown past our prejudices. We still feel better when we are segregated within our own communities. This nation is still looked at as the great experiment. A melting pot of cultures and personalities. What happens here is what the world looks at as living the American dream,
    Unfortunately that same luxury is not afforded to all. If you are black in this country you already have one strike against you. Hard to hide your color. If you are a legal immigrant, you still live with the unwelcomed behaviors of those who think America belongs to them, because they were born here. The color of your skin holds you back in this country. Just look at the true history of the south. Years of systemic oppression, murders and tortured blacks still exist to this day in parts of this country. Ignorant people beget ignorant people. And there are still many in this great nation. We have seen it first hand, having lived through this past presidency. The ugly truth of the great divide. We all bring to our perceptions of what we have lived. We judge and evaluate what we see and hear based on what we have learned over the years. Hard to step through that and perceive what others are seeing, or how they are evaluating what is going on in this country. All I know is that, I personally feel that I grew up the hard way. Never had a lot, and had to work my way through life. I was fortunate that I was gifted with a talent, and yes I used it to make my way through life. But when I see how others have lived their lives, some less fortunate, with turmoil, and hardships, I realize that my life was not so bad. Do I have any issues taking down icons that depict Indians as war mongers. Savages. Scalpers. No I do not. We stole this land from them. We justified it to ourselves by depicting them as savages. We figured their civilization would be better off if they were more like us, so we tried to strip them from their culture. There were a few good presidents that came along and gave them some places to call home. But nothing of any value. We kept those places to ourselves. We stole everything else. If the Indians tried to stop us, we slaughtered them. Starved them out. But history is taught in our schools about the bad things they did to us, then glazed over our atrocities to them. For the black man? We never really gave them a fighting chance. They were shipped here against their will,. sold as cattle, and treated as such. We have no right as a white person in this country to think we do not owe them something. We drove them out of neighborhoods by rerouting highways. Denied them financing for start up businesses. They were given higher interest rates if they were given a loan. Their farms were taken from them in the Midwest. The list just goes on and on. To me the confederate flag is a symbol of slavery. The southern generals wanted free labor, and would do anything to keep it that way.

    1. How glad I am that you made the time to respond and share your views. I could not agree more with what you have expressed in this comment and I love you, too!

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