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Sunday, May 12, 2013
I’m sure you’ve heard the hot topic in Martinsville. I am referring to the quilt that was presented to the city council by students from the Piedmont Governor’s School. I have listened to many opinions about the quilt. Again, I have listened because most of our learning comes from listening.
A white co-worker and I had a great discussion. She and I gave opinions, which differed, but we were able to listen and understand each other’s point of view. When my co-worker said, “I’m not black so I never thought of it from that perspective,” I thought her words were a refreshing honesty that more people (of all races) need to dig into. However, as a black woman, I understand how Councilwoman Sharon Brooks Hodge felt when the quilt was presented and the reference was made about the black man on the quilt.
I don’t believe any of the students meant any malice in the presentation, but we can’t disregard the feelings of black people either. Our black children are sadly faced with negative stereotypes and oppositions from childhood.
We have to continuously reinforce to our children they are just as good as other races. But when our sons are of the age to drive, black parents have to inform them, by way of the dreaded conversation, what could happen to them if they are stopped by certain police officers. We have to tell our children the story of Emmett Till that happened in 1955. We have to explain to them in 2013 that what happened to Trayvon Martin could happen to them solely because of the color of their skin. Those two stories don’t even begin to scratch the surface of racism directed toward the black race, so I appreciate Hodge addressing the issue she had with the quilt.
Her reaction was deeper than a quilt. Her comments were more than an angry black woman. She spoke for generations of misjudgment placed on our ancestors, and which is still being placed on our race in 2013. If her words were combative, they were combative for change.
Some people suggest black people get over our history. Well, you can’t get over something until you learn about it. Then, and only then, you may be able to prevent it from happening again. I strongly suggest we form a forum that addresses a way to have better race relations. This forum shouldn’t consist of the same old people. This forum should consist of people who believe in change and want to fix the issues, not just complain or band wagon because of their fear of consequences.
I was told by a friend, you don’t have a problem when you have a solution. You only have a problem when there isn’t a solution. We must begin to communicate, listen and take action. That is a solution.
Hodge fired words instead of bullets. She asked questions instead of plotting an attack. We have terrorists plotting destruction on our country. We have children being killed in schools. We have homeless people in our community and neighborhoods. We have illiterate youth graduating from high school. We have black males being murdered while carrying ice tea and Skittles and listening to loud music. We have black-on-black crime in massive numbers. So wake up, people! We have 99 problems and Councilwoman Hodge shouldn’t be one.
Weather JournalPossible scrape with snow Tues