Personal Journeys with Gramma

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A Battle between Ego and Values

What if human civilization hadn’t operated on “might makes right?” Graham Hancock believes the citizens of lost ancient civilizations sought spiritual advancement as their goal…before natural disasters ended their reign. What if that’s true and the next wave of civilizations leading to our own hadn’t resorted to wars and physical domination as hallmarks of achievement? Where and how would we live? What would we look like now? Would we care?

The documentary film DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN includes a speech by a white nationalist. His “organization” swears allegiance not to the United States, in which the members live, but to a subgroup of southern white people whose ancestors came from pale-skinned Europe. They have no doubt they are superior human beings, regardless of the fact that their forebears were probably farmers, laborers, or indentured servants who relocated to this continent in desperation. They ignore vast achievements by people of other races, insisting (incorrectly) all significant advances have been made by white men who seem to them to be “pure.” Their sentiments are echoed by Klan leaders whose views are voiced in the film BLACKKKLANSMAN.

One white man who defies the myths of white superiority as well as societal pressures against speaking out is the director of the film DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?—Travis Wilkerson. He dared to investigate a cold-blooded murder committed by his great-grandfather—which turned out to be only one of several probable murders of black men around 1946 by a man who also molested his daughters and abused his wife. The great-grandfather was never punished and his records were “lost.” Modern-day white locals were not pleased to have his story revealed and did their best to intimidate Wilkerson. Whether, given the chance, they might have murdered him as civil rights workers had been killed before is unclear. Wilkerson’s great aunt is an active member of the white southern “organization” and eventually mailed Wilkerson alternative “facts” about the murder, claiming his great-grandfather acted in defense of an African-American woman in the store.

BLACKKKLANSMAN is Spike Lee’s rendition of the true story of Ron Stallworth, a black man in Colorado Springs, Colorado, who joined the police department as its first African-American officer in the 1970s in order to address racially motivated offenses on the department and off. Stallworth worked with a white Jewish officer to infiltrate and expose violent plots by Klan members. In spite of the success of the program that prevented a bombing of innocents, the police chief subsequently ordered the records of the investigation destroyed and the operation discontinued. Those who view Lee’s film are most shaken by the final scenes that occur not in the 1970s but are actual news footage from 2017—a torch-light march of chanting white supremacists—described by the President of the United States as including some very nice people. The chant hasn’t changed in decades and probably longer. “Organization” (they avoid saying Klan these days) members hate blacks and they hate Jews and don’t seem to hold women in very high esteem, either.

Why is equality—not feeling superior—scary to so many? How can appearance be more important than abilities? Does it mask a raging sense of inferiority? Is this pretense psychological compensation for people who can’t imagine they could provide any greater contribution to humankind than to have fair-skinned babies? These white supremacists claim to want the “revolution” their abject insensitivity and cruelty could eventually produce—assuming a conflict would remain localized and wouldn’t invite outside invaders. Their bullying makes an ugly backdrop for the courage of men like Wilkerson, Stallworth and his partner—courage that invites the rest of us to act according to our values, not our egos.

One comment on “A Battle between Ego and Values

    July 28, 2019

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