What the World Needs Now
Updated: Nov 20, 2021
I’ve been busy lately. Very busy. After hearing two or three separate conversions buzzing with the names Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, I decided to reconnect myself with the news. And boy, did I get an earful.
It seemed like everyone and their grandmother had something to say about the incident that resulted in a young man’s death, and now another man’s acquittal. Newspapers, talk shows, Youtube videos, even people on the street—all debating what caused the event and who was to blame. The only real fact I discovered was that a teenage boy is gone too soon. And that makes me profoundly sad.
I don’t want to sit here and dispute what happened that night. I don’t know. Nobody does for certain, save the two men who confronted one another. A far better topic, I think, is what we can do about it.
If only I had a dollar for every time somebody told me race was no longer a problem in this country. I’ve seen the rolled eyes and heard the burdened sighs. “Do we have to bring up this again? Slavery is over. The civil rights movement was decades ago. Can’t we just move on?”
Oh, how I wish we could. But we humans are stubborn creatures, aren’t we? We cling to differences amongst each other and comforting labels we can slap on our fellow man when their opinion or lifestyle doesn’t match up to ours. Racial prejudice, like any other form of hate, continues because enough of us find it acceptable, if not downright pacifying.
Anyone who follows the CBS show Big Brother knows what I’m talking about. This season, several houseguests have ignited a storm of controversy over racial remarks and attitudes expressed in the house. It breaks my heart, but I can’t say I’ve never encountered it. Prejudice of all kinds abounds—even here in free love, liberal nut-job California (no offense, California, it’s just the perception I’ve heard around the country).
So how do we face the problem of intolerance? I have only one word: love. It sounds simple, but I know of nothing else so limitless and life-altering. Arguing will not get the job done. Accusations and abuse will only stir up more unrest and, I’m afraid, reinforce the established pattern of animosity. But love speaks louder than a multitude of screaming. Its gentle voice, as small as it seems at the time, will eventually hush the bitter shouts around it. Love is the strongest weapon of all.
Think about that night when George Zimmerman came toe-to-toe with Trayvon Martin. Had more love been present, and less fear, we might be reading a much happier story now. It probably wouldn’t make the front page, but who wants headlines in place of life? I’d like to challenge myself and the world around me—examine your heart. If there’s anyone you harbor hate or fear toward, work to heal it. It could be blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos, homosexuals, Christians, Atheists, Catholics, Muslims, you name it. There might be just one person in your life you feel wronged by and just cannot part from your grudge against. Bury it. Forgive them. Get to know them. Your heart will change.
I need this. I may not embrace hostility toward a particular race, but I can look back on my history and see people in my life I need to love and forgive more fully. Let’s do it together. Maybe if we try, one by one, the world might look a little different. Newspapers will have one less story. Families will have one more child safe at home. Love, not prejudice, will abound.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us.” –John Lennon