Maybe this is my “-30-”
Mary Jane Owen
Some of you may know that the term “-30-” was used by journalists for many years to mark the end of a piece. Well, after a long absence from the pages of The Times, I have decided to “tell it like I see it.” This could mean that some of my friends will “de-friend” me or I could get disowned by the family, dechurched, and possibly a cross burned in my front yard. But I’m so moved and so mad about the Charleston tragedy that I’m going to get this out of my head/heart and commit it to a piece of paper. Let the chips fall where they may! So here goes:
If you call yourself a Christian and you don’t have some understanding of the hatred Dylann Roof brought to the forefront, you may have some thinking to do. Certainly anyone unaffected by this horror must have ice water in their veins.
We have been fooling ourselves into thinking that things are “better!” Personally. I think we have only put a band-aid on our current state of affairs and refuse to believe that we have really not come very far with regard to race, color, and ethnicity. As one of my good friends has said of recent events, “Everybody sits back and pats themselves on the back and says ‘look what a good job we Southerners have done with integration.’ We have taken our horses to a dry pond and wonder why the vultures are sitting in the trees.” (Wish I’d said that!)
Now, I love the South. I am 100% Southern, unashamed of it! I attended segregated schools and knew no black person that was not household help or a convict. However, it was my great good fortune, that during my first year of teaching, I met, and had many things in common with, my first non-McDonough adult friend. She just happened to be African-American. We taught each other a lot, and I’m indebted to her to this very day. Later, when I came to work in Henry County, I became acquainted with some great, same-age African-American friends; people that had grown up right here in McDonough, but people that I did not have the opportunity to know. In getting to know them, I’ve been blessed by their friendship and support.
I am far from perfect. I have done many things about which I am very ashamed. Often my thinking is skewed, but I think I understand what Jesus said when he asked of us only two things: that we love Him and that we love EACH OTHER. I get that. And no, I don’t just love everybody like I should. I have folks in my life that rub me the wrong way, but by George I don’t hate them. And if you’re like me, you don’t have time, “ ... for hate!” as the late former mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen, once said.
So please don’t send out any more e-mails with attachments that blame President Obama for everything including the baby’s colic, and do leave off the hateful things about Muslims or any other ethnic/racial group. I doubt seriously most of us have real knowledge of any of those unlike ourselves.
This cuts both ways. If you are brown, meaning you are African -American or Hispanic, you comprise the majority in our county. Please do not make matters worse by promoting more divisiveness, by punishing us whites, your contemporaries, for all that you have suffered. No doubt about it, you have endured horribly. That unfortunately may continue, but please put your energy into helping each other and the rest of us as well, No matter if we are white, black, brown, pink, polka dotted, we need each other. We can learn from each other, and together we can stamp out hate. Let us hope it is not too late. Let the vultures give up and go far, far away.
Mary Jane Owen is a veteran educator. She has two children and one grandson. She’ s an avid Braves fan, reads, writes and gardens.