The above clip, from Remember The Titans (GREAT movie about MUCH more than football), challenges the athletes at TC Williams High School in Virginia to ‘take a lesson from the dead’, and to conquer the battle with prejudice within…a battle that many gave their lives in during the battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.
I remember the first time I saw that movie, I explained to my kids that the events of the movie (based on a true story), happened in 1971…when I was 9 years old. In other words, this kind of prejudice was still in existence in my lifetime.
It was hard for my kids to believe.
So, fast forward to 2017…and the words of the movie clip still ring true:
“50,000 men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we’re fighting amongst ourselves…”
How can this be true? How can there STILL be people who judge by the external color of skin?
Because hatred dies hard. Prejudice, once learned is easy to pass on and difficult to root out.
I remember around that time that I went to a parochial school where I had a few black classmates, Tony, Craig, Nancy, Jerome and Darryl were with me some or all of my 1st–8th grade years. I genuinely loved them as friends, but even so, I had no idea the kind of feelings they must have dealt with every day, walking into a school where they we outnumbered about 95% to 5%.
When, as is almost inevitable, middle school boys teased about the things that made them ‘different’ (as middle school boys often do), it must have felt humiliating…but they were powerless. They needed someone from the 95% to stand up for them. Did I do it? I don’t remember. I do remember being good friends with them, and genuinely enjoying each other.
Did we ever talk about it? Nope.
I wish I would have. I wish I could see then what I see now…that we’re STILL needing to fight this battle with racism, as amazing as that is…and that it is partly MY responsibility to speak out against it, as one in the ‘majority’ class.
In particular I, as a born-again Christian–who has been ‘adopted’ into the family of God, along with all others–of all races, nationalities and origins–by faith in Jesus Christ, need to understand that externals like race DO. NOT. MATTER!
What matters is that we are created in the image of God!
“then God said”Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…so God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them…” (Genesis 1:26-27)
Hatred still finds root in the heart of human beings.
Prejudice is still and issue in our nation, even after all these years.
…and we–the ‘majority’ class–still have a responsibility to speak out against it.
Whether we’re the President of the United States, the Pastor of a local church, or the guy in the lunchroom at work or at school.
We MUST keep pushing prejudice aside, keep affirming love, and keep fighting the fight so that one day all men (and women) will be treated equally–and in the words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”
I could quote the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, but I think he said it best…