Overall, though, it was a moving book that certainly had me reflecting on the fragility of my own journey, and the many ways it could have continued down a very different path that where I find myself today. Hopefully such a book would open us up to our shared humanity and make us less likely to use one dimensional categories like “thugs,” and “those people” to define other people. We would all be more compassionate if we identified more deeply with those whose journeys have taken hard and painful turns.
I was born in California. One side of my family immigrated to the United States in the early 17th century. The other side of my family arrived on tightly packed ships filled with misery and tears. We have been American for a long time.
Yet, it wasn’t until a cool night in November 2008 that I felt a sense of belonging.
Many will look at the tribal and ethnic tensions that exist all around the world as a problem as old as human civilization. Isn’t this a strong argument for the reality that the racism that was practiced by white/western Europe is indeed just a reflection of what has always been?
W. E. B. Du Bois wrote his prophetic words “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of color line” decades before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Yet those words allowed blacks to note how the removal of Jim Crow from educational institutions was slow in many parts of the country. Often among those responsible were Christian segregationists in Christian schools and colleges.