My father hated the Germans during World War II. He saw his buddies reduced to chunks of flesh. He saw huge pits filled with human bodies. He saw all the horrors of war. He hated the Germans.
Without the communications of today, there was lots of confusion in Germany after the Nazis surrendered in May 1945. Many Germans did not know that the war was over. Dad said he went to Berlin to help control the civil unrest there.
At one point, Dad saw a German mother weeping over the death of her son, a German soldier. In that instant, Dad said, “All my hatred for the Germans disappeared. I saw a mother weeping for her dead son. I thought how that could be my mother weeping for me if I had been killed.”
Religion, race, color were no longer relevant to Dad. He saw himself as a human being and all people as human beings.
Dad raised me with that philosophy. He said, “Think of yourself as a human being first. Being Canadian or colored is secondary. You are a human being first and no different from anyone else.”
(Colored was not an offensive term back then. Now it is. I still do not understand why it is offensive to say, ” Colored people” but not offensive to say, “People of color.”)
How disappointing to hear some family members and friends getting caught up in the Black-White issues over the death of George Floyd. Seeing these issues as Black and White keeps us separate. It becomes an Us-and-Them issue. The truth is that there is not any Them; there is only Us.
Racism and hatred are part of our tendency to be ignorant and savage towards each other. Our history, as human beings, consists of ignorance and savagery. No matter what the race, religion, or color of the group involved, it is always a group of human beings against another group of human beings. It’s as simple as that.
But as human beings belonging to a group, we do not want to be associated with other groups of human beings. We think of ourselves as being “different” or “special.” The rules do not apply to us. The rules apply to other people.
We will complain when we do not get equal treatment, but say nothing when we get special treatment. It is no coincidence that hypocrite and human begin with an “h.”
By seeing ourselves as special and separate from other human beings, we believe the illusion that we are special and separate. If we were special and separate, then we would not enjoy the novels, stories, and plays about human beings from different times and cultures, and countries.
Human nature has never changed. There is no Us and Them; there is only Us.
And what is with the double standard? Why are there no protests and marches when a police officer kills a White person? According to the statistics, U.S. police have killed more White People than Black people. Let me repeat that: U.S. police have killed more White people than Black people.
On August 10, 2016, the Dallas police killed Tony Timpa, a human being who happened to be White. They killed him much the same way the Minneapolis police killed George Floyd. Were there any marches or protests? Did Tony Timpa’s life and death not matter?
Isn’t it amazing how, in August 2016, Tony Timpa’s mother, an American, felt the same grief a German mother felt in May 1945?
As you watch Tony’s mother express her raw emotions, remind yourself that only Black lives matter.
The death of George Floyd is not a Black-White issue. It is an Us issue. Police brutality, racism, and hatred affect all of us, no matter which group of human beings with which we identify. And we do not rid the world of hatred by hating people who hate.
There is no Us and Them; there is only Us.