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Truth and Reconciliation

Thinking about divorce, American race relations and the death of Nelson Mandela.

As is our family’s custom, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my mom’s house a day later than most of the country. My mom and sister made enough food to feed an army and the voice of my dad echoed from the past to tell them that they had made too much. We reminisced, laughed a lot and pushed the buttons that only family can. My wife sat at the table next to my ex-wife.


When my mother first asked me last year if she could invite my ex to dinner there was only one answer that I knew that I could give. A divorce is like a nuclear bomb exploded to solve a property dispute. It not only ended our marriage, but affected the ties we had with all of our friends and relatives. As uncomfortable as it would be for me to share a holiday, it was a recognition that family relationships are not swept away by a judge’s signature on a piece of paper. Most importantly, it allowed our son to celebrate the holiday with both of his parents.


The saddest part about the whole situation is that two people who were married for 16 years would experience that level of discomfort. I knew going into the separation that we were throwing away our future, what I did not realize was that the process would also destroy our past. Distrust is a byproduct of the oppositional nature of family court. Unless that distrust is confronted head on, a state of détente is the best we can ever hope for.


In many ways this same situation describes the state of race relations in America. Slavery may have ended almost 150 years ago but we have never fully confronted the results. For those whose ancestors benefited from this sin it is easy to suggest that this was in the past, we have changed and should just move on. My family all came to the United States in the twentieth century and had nothing to do with the system. Still, I recognize that while ancestors had the opportunity to escape tyranny and lack of economic opportunity, others were brutally forced into this country lacking the most basic of freedoms. Even to this day, “all men are created equal” has been more of a goal than a reality.


While we may have elected (and re-elected) our first African-American President, the unemployment for blacks is “consistently twice that of whites.”  While the progress towards ending “intensely segregated” schools has simply stalled in the past 30 years, blacks in schools that are “50 - 100% nonwhite” has risen to 74.1% during this time period, almost back to the 76.6% that existed at the height Civil Rights Movement.  In 2010 there 4,347 inmates per 100,000 male, black U. S. residents, a rate that is more than six times the incarceration rate for white males.


Someone also forgot to tell the American people that we have entered a post-racial America. A survey conducted by Pew Research found that 88% of black Americans and 57% of white Americans “believe that there is at least some discrimination against African-Americans.”  Another poll found that while Republicans were more likely to be explicitly racist, 55% of Democrats, 64% of Republicans and 49% of independents “held anti-black feelings.”  Some still argue the appropriateness of displaying the Confederate flag despite the fact that it is a symbol of a rebellion that tried to start a new country whose cornerstone rested “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”


Perhaps the sins of the father are indeed visited upon the son and our country is forever doomed to pay the price for our Founding Father’s acceptance of slavery. Maybe our hope lays with the younger generation who, as exemplified by the sudden shift towards the acceptance of same-sex marriage, can finally demand an end to racial inequality. Whatever our destiny, this problem was in a better position to be solved at the point that slavery was ended.


In South Africa, the system of apartheid could have ended in bloodbath of revenge and retribution. Apartheid combined the worst of America’s atrocities, pushing natives from their homelands and then subjecting them to Jim Crow’s even more evil twin. The system was separate but equal without the pretense of pretending to be equal. Stephen Biko became a martyr by dying on the floor of his prison cell, Nelson Mandela languished in his cell for 27 years. Most men would have let resentment eat away at them during that time. Mandela became a hero by resisting that temptation.


After becoming the first black president of South Africa, Mandela established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission “to come to terms with their past on a morally accepted basis and to advance the cause of reconciliation.”  Instead of focusing strictly on punishment, this commission also formed the means to offer amnesty. They acknowledged that the conflict rising out of apartheid resulted in violence and human rights abuses and recognized that these wrongs came “from all sides.”  While democracy in South Africa is still threatened by corruption and one party domination, at least the country has avoided the widespread racial bloodshed that has occurred in Zimbabwe.


After Mandela was released from prison he embarked on a tour of the United States that ended in June of 1998 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. I was lucky to have attended that event, though many of the specifics memories of the evening have disappeared with time. The one thing I remember the best was the black man who was sitting in front of me with his family. At some point in the evening he thanked my friends and I for coming as if we were sitting in his backyard. We had successfully crossed America’s racial divide.

_____________________________________________________________

A complete archive of Carl’s weekly blogs can be found here.

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Welfare Dad January 26, 2014 at 03:56 PM
MSNBC is due for some hate spewing , only a couple weeks ago Melissa Harris Perry cried like an insincere brat for racism targeted at a baby.
Charlie B January 26, 2014 at 09:47 PM
Another example of FOX playing the race card, http://mediamatters.org/research/2010/07/16/report-fox-news-has-hyped-phony-new-black-panth/167811
Carl Petersen III January 27, 2014 at 02:17 PM
Welfare Dad January 26, 2014 at 03:56 PM "MSNBC is due for some hate spewing , only a couple weeks ago Melissa Harris Perry cried like an insincere brat for racism targeted at a baby." ______________________________________________________ On what expert basis can you claim that she was insincere? Also, once again, her racism was not aimed at the baby.
Charlie B January 30, 2014 at 05:48 PM
Damn straight, defending the confederate flag makes you a jackass. http://www.politicalgarbagechute.com/more-on-why-defending-the-confederate-flag-makes-you-an-ignorant-jackass/
Charlie B February 03, 2014 at 07:23 PM
A little perspective on the hate spewing, so enjoyed by Welfare dude and others. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/the-sniveling-apologizers_b_4715109.html
Status Quo February 04, 2014 at 12:10 AM
Perhaps, because MH-P... "cried like an insincere brat for racism targeted at a baby." It appears to be 'Welfare Dad's view, bordering on expert analysis of the facts.
Charlie B February 16, 2014 at 01:21 AM
In summary https://medium.com/matt-bors/974f8669635d
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 16, 2014 at 01:53 AM
So the blog made its organic end.... But wait! Charlie needs to show the world a week later he needs to continue the lie ---republicans racist. Ok, all done? Yeah zzzz. Zzzzz. WAIT! Charlie's back! Look see I told you, your side, bad, racist! My side good! Ok, goodnight charlie. .....mmblmgr(Charlie is dreaming of racists, and religion)...two weeks later.... WAIT! Look! One more Charlie say. See? See? I told you! Your side bad. Your side bad, bad. Your side racist evil bad. My side good! See? Yeah, yeah, sure Charlie yeah .... Can you see the purdy rabbits Charlie? You like rabbits Charlie? You like to pet rabbits Charlie? .... NOTE: Charlie., you got embarrassed in elementary school when they laughed at your backwards R? Now you can't get past the R? Race, religion= evil. Forever stuck on R.
Carl Petersen III February 16, 2014 at 01:58 AM
Fortified: The best part of your post is that you just revived another long dead post: http://uppersaucon.patch.com/groups/newscruncher/p/racial-equality-progress-made-progress-needed-uppersaucon?ncid=newsltuspatc00000010
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 16, 2014 at 02:14 AM
Then thunder rolled across the sky. The clouds parted..... An image of something......something spiritual appeared. And it began to speak....Charlie looked up almost like charlton Heston .... The spirit spoke..."charles ... Charles".... Well, Charlie was scared half to death, but figured he better listen to any supernatural power coming out of the sky. Y,yeah... Charlie said. Charles you must listen carefully to my words. Lighting struck the ground right next to charly knocking him off balance. But when he looked over he saw right next to him the letter S. "Charlie" the spirit said, "you must move on to the letter S now. Race, and religion as a vehicle is exhausted. You must use S the very next time you speak" Charly was still trembling from shock. He looked up, "S"....and said "S..s...Screw you, your clouds are only white. To which a bolt of lightning immediately struck Charlie. The preceeding story was almost funny, and not meant to incite anyone. Merry Christmas
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 16, 2014 at 02:20 AM
Revive post. Yeah! Like they say in Hollywood, good press, bad press, just spell my name right. You may do the same as well to mine. :-0. Surprise face.
Charlie B February 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Watching Jim DeMint hedge on why the House teabaggers allowed the debt ceiling bills to be paid. Noticed that a couple of the stupid states had their "teach religion in science" bills put on hold, again. Both positive things. Missed Marsha Blackburn on Beat the Press debate Bill Nye on climate change. Hope that turned out OK for science and the world. Looking for the positive on this Sunday morning.
Status Quo February 16, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Reasonable science concerns are dealt with adequately in the exchange between Ms. Blackburn and Bill Nye, though the take of 'ChaЯly B's significance delusional read is not vouched. As always, climate change is recognized and outside of priority stream(19th on Americans' list) to control. Also touched upon 'ChaЯly B', is our states' own regulatory malfeasance to not properly storing water ~ to detriment of farmers which will affect 'ChaЯly B' right-quick. In over-speaking your significance delusional resurrection of discussion about 'Carl III's thoughts on divorce, race relations and the death of Nelson Mandela... what makes you think, that beginning a new thread beginning with a denigrating term toward the Tea's, is good form or lends cogency to your significance delusions? A complete listing of more appropriate posts by 'Carl III', that deal with climate change(your AWG wants) related posts is evident. To outsiders of your delusions, it just looks like you love spewing in irrational ways for undue prominence(paste 'jb's puerile responses here). Expected prominence of Snail Darters and Fairy Shrimp are predicted.
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 16, 2014 at 07:28 PM
..... Continued...then through the clouds the image appeared. It was....Morgan Freeman.
Charlie B February 16, 2014 at 07:44 PM
Climate change is outside of our priority stream because too many people with voting privileges get their information from know nothings like Marsha Blackburn. I call'em teabaggers, because, you know, they said it first, and they are bad for the country. I could use the word vermin if that works better for you. The Vermin Infested Party. What was the delusional part again?
rubberband February 16, 2014 at 08:58 PM
Truth and...well, getting along: Public Talk in Los Angeles, California, USA on February 25: The Dalai Lama will give a public talk on "Non-Violence and the Effects of Compassion in the 21st Century" at the Forum.
Status Quo February 16, 2014 at 10:19 PM
'rubberband' ~ nice break, very organic and excellent information.
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 16, 2014 at 10:23 PM
Status. the youtube link is the most honest interview about AGW that I have seen. She followed, believed, and talked about the issue for 17 years. Some of the information is easy to understand general information. Some might be confusing for those who are not familiar with the points. But no matter what this is a must see video without hype. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgMZegvtXB0 )
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Rubberband...Did china warn Obama not to meet the Dalai Lama like two years ago?
Status Quo February 16, 2014 at 10:43 PM
'FORT', Check! Will view.
rubberband February 16, 2014 at 11:44 PM
I dunno. Probably. My dream backyard dinner table has this man sitting with other remarkable people, some still with us, and some long gone....A lot of people have their "dream team" fantasy football leagues... i got this "table" ....all kinds of people are at this gathering, it is truly a motley crew. Wish it could happen for real...it'd be the party to be at.
Status Quo February 17, 2014 at 12:02 AM
'FORT', ¶So right about the video, it's critical thinking ~ and the questions asked within the 'Skeptics Handbook'. Will be, looking at parsing Henry Principle. Popping out as especially cogent and pragmatic was 'cost of insurance policy' exchange. We'll see if 'ChaЯly B' embarks upon contortion of the fun. Ms./Mrs. Nova/Evans is delightful in her adherence to actual science applied to critical inking. Dr. Evans ~ equally laconic and have seen some of Tophers' offerings in the past. Thanks. Recommend
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 17, 2014 at 03:31 AM
ohhhh.....so now we know who started that conversation starter... "If you could pick 12 people .....dinner...."...you know what? Immo open up a new blog for that! see you in Monrovia.
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 17, 2014 at 03:32 AM
Status, Were you familiar with Jonova before? I never heard of her husband before.
Status Quo February 18, 2014 at 02:08 PM
Yes. After viewing the affable mea culpa, I was curious to 'suss-out' Evans' view. Can you imagine the conversations they have?
Charlie B February 19, 2014 at 07:59 PM
This is Mr. Ted Nugent thinking about American race relations. Features guns, the normal racial slurs (Jews and Blacks), and false history (Acorn, Benghazi), plus so much more. File this under "why I call them teatards." http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/01/21/outdoor-channels-ted-nugent-says-subhuman-mongr/197669
Charlie B February 21, 2014 at 09:58 AM
This preacher says God wants people to accept who they are born to be. To do otherwise, is against God's will . . . because communism. (Does this logic apply to gays? He doesn't say.) probably).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxik_fK_yWU
rubberband February 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM
That has got to be, hands down, one of the most ignorant, sickening, mind-blowing rants I've ever seen. Absolutely unf**ing believable....This man is a preacher? He is supposed to give wise council and teach other people about how to live? Sick. Just sick, man.
Charlie B February 21, 2014 at 01:06 PM
Where Truth & Reconciliation meet Ignorance & Mean-spiritedness. http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/21/3313571/georgia-approves-confederate-license-plate-design/
Status Quo February 22, 2014 at 01:05 PM
Yes, I see both the ignorance and the mean-spiritedness of 'ChaЯly B's posts wherever he places them.

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