Will you join the United States of America now? Yes, I am well aware of your contributions and sacrifices, but you seeem to be less than fully committed to the USA. Can we drop the African from African-American? Can you fully accept the USA as your country now?
Can you forgive some Americans for their past transgressions which were based on ignorance and fear. Can you forgive them for their ignorance and bigotry?
There is tension between us. I feel it. There are times I feel it even when I am with my African-American friends. I often feel it when I am out shopping or in the public. I felt it when I stood in line to vote.
You don’t know me but I did my small part to end discrimination. I was the top athlete at my high school in 1966 the first year of integration. There was talk of a fight. I was recruited to lead it. I refused and openly embraced the best African-American athlete of our school.
In college I broke up a couple of fights between white and African-American athletes. In both cases the African-American was going to lose. I was shunned by my white team mates at the time.
I suffered bad service and no service as I ate in restaurants with my African-American friends in the late sixties and early seventies.
I taught school as a substitute teacher for a while. I still broke up fights but mostly between African Americans. I learned that I was a racist because I used the words, “jive”, “like white on rice”, and “cracked the whip”. I assure you that I did not see the racial connection at the time. I have purged these words from my vocabulary.
I still feel the tension. I am big and I am white but you don’t know me.
It’s up to you to decide when you want to fully commit to the USA. On that day you will become simply Americans.