Is Racism Still an Issue in This Country?
From the popularity of the book and movie, The Help, one would assume that issues regarding race are of great interest in America today. We’ve come such a long way from the days of segregated schools and “Colored” and “White” waiting rooms and water fountains. It’s been fifty years since Martin Luther King Jr’s speech with the poignant phrase “I Have a Dream.” Has that dream been realized or not?
Let’s begin by looking at the definition of racism. It is “1) a prejudice or animosity against people who belong to other races; and 2) the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior.” One doesn’t have to look very far to see that those elements still exist in our society.
So, what can we do to correct that, to make our country a better place to live? I would like to suggest a very simple first step. We need to share our stories. That’s right; we need to share our stories. There is this quote in Alexander McCall Smith’s In the Company of Cheerful Ladies. “A life without stories would be no life at all. And stories bound us, did they not, one to another, the living to the dead, people to animals, people to the land?” And I would add to that”… and one race to another.” Karen Fisher wrote in her novel A Sudden Country, “Our stories are all we have. The only thing that can ever save us is to learn each other’s stories. From beginning to end….For every life we know, we are expanded.”
It is to that end – to learn each other’s stories - that I wrote March With Me. Letitia, the black protagonist, and Martha Ann, the white protagonist, live their very separate, if parallel, lives during the Civil Rights Movement years in Birmingham, Alabama. Each one’s story is valid and authentic, and we need to know both in order to fully understand that era. So, I invite you, the reader to learn their stories, and as you talk about them to others, share your story as well.
March With Me continues the discussion that began with The Help. Join us. Share your story. And the lives of all of us will be expanded.