Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Birth Defect

A birth defect is defined as a physical or biochemical abnormality that is present at birth and that may be inherited or be the result of environmental influence.  It is further defined as:  an abnormality of structure, function or metabolism, whether genetically determined or the result of environmental interference during embryonic or fetal life. A birth defect may cause disease from the time of conception through birth, or late in life.

I have long maintained that the stain of slavery will forever remain on the United States. Like the red wine stain on a white, linen tablecloth, the history of slavery and racism on this country is a stain that, although faded, will always remain. You can rub and rub at the wine stain on the tablecloth, but despite all your efforts, despite whatever solvent you use, there will always remain a remnant of the stain. Slavery and its racism is the remnant that remains on the United States. It is the birth defect of this nation.

Condoleeza Rice, once said this:  America doesn't have an easy time dealing with race … obviously, when this country was founded, the words that were enshrined in all of our great documents that have been such an inspiration to people around the world … they didn't have me [sic] for an overwhelming element of our founding population. And Black Americans were a founding population," Rice said. "Europeans and Africans came here and founded this country together. Europeans by choice and Africans in chains and that's a not a very pretty reality of our founding. I think that particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today.

The definition of a birth defect concludes that a birth defect may cause disease from the time of conception through birth and later life. Such is racism in this country (and others). It is a birth defect whose genesis began at the very beginning of this country. It is an allegory that handily lends itself to racism in this country.

It has been my belief, my fervent hope, that dialogue, honest conversations about race, will begin the long, difficult journey to reconciliation.



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