Frederick Douglass (US abolitionist and journalist, 1817-1895) wrote:
For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling in the nation must be quickened, the conscience of the nation must be roused, the propriety of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed: and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.
Douglass wrote these words over 160 years ago (more here). Was he right then? Are his words still true today?
I invite you to a day of reflection on these questions.
#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 24
I chose Douglass’ words last evening before remembering that “Race Relations” would be the Hot Topic for the League of Women Voters of Orange County’s monthly lunch today. At the event, it was refreshing to hear some frank talk about a subject that we, as a society, are trying to discuss – but are not quite engaging effectively yet.
The stories told by several of the black speakers were jarring. They certainly helped to do things like “rouse the conscience” for those in attendance. Journalist Darryl Owens read us a letter that he had eceived today (in 2015) that was just appalling in both its racism and incivility. At some level, I know this happens all the time, in spite of the apparent progress that has been made. Yet, as a white woman, it is not in my face all the time.
The panelists spoke of our need to be in conversation with each other, the importance of dialog. I asked what conversations they thought were most important for us to have. As I understood his answer, Chief Judge Belvin Perry said it was the conversations that help us to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I think he’s right. One panelist shared a lot of statistics and they were interesting but they did not move me like the personal stories. It is the telling of real, lived experience through which the propriety of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed.