While the thoughts of most of the nation were on Memorial Day, a different type of thought process was playing out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over that same weekend as armed Black nationalist militia groups descended on the area.
"The struggle for Reparations must be escalated," a news release from organizers read. "We must fight on every front to achieve redress and reparations for the atrocities committed upon Tulsa Massacre descendants; and we must intensify the fight to achieve reparations for all 40 million Blacks still grossly affected by racism, inequality, wealth disparity, police brutality and the like. Tulsa will mark a new beginning in the upgraded fight for Reparations for Black people." (https://ktul.com/news/local/armed-second-amendment-march)
As is usually the case with most fringe groups of any race or creed, there was the "press release material" and then there were the live videos, which provided much more raw and honest statements of intention. AntifaWatch circulated much of that video on Twitter (it has since been removed), and it was eye-opening, to say the least.
Here are some of the direct quotes spoken by the guys that everyone was gathered around listening to with rapt attention. Credit where it is due: These men are very good at working a crowd — definitely not monotone, boring lecturers. They spoke with all of the fervency of old-time evangelists intent on moving their audience to a decision:
"When that time has come for ratatattat, cracker, we will kill everything white in sight."
"So once they are buried, we must bury them, dig them up, and kill them again!"
Now, it is a well-established fact that I myself am not exactly white. I am brownish, really, being one-half Puerto Rican, one-quarter Lebanese and one-quarter French. Thus, I have a flawless tan year-round, though from my grandmother's side I did somehow inherit baby blue eyes. But to call me white would technically not be accurate, though that is usually how I am regarded, nor would it be accurate to call me Black. But I rather suspect that I would be regarded as one of those "crackers" that needs to be killed.
And if I were prone to hurt feelings (which I am not), I would quip that that hurts my feelings immeasurably; if anything, I am more like a piece of Melba toast than a cracker. And this makes me wonder whether or not these, ahem, "fine folks" would be willing just to try and give me a good wedgie when the "time has come for ratatattat." If they do, I would be more than happy to retaliate with a good old-fashioned noogie rather than drawing my own firearm to match theirs.
The reference to being buried, dug up and killed again (spoken three times in a row, with increasing fervency each time) was also a bit of a head-scratcher for me. I grant you, this may possibly be because, having now reached the age when AARP is starting to send me unwanted advances, I am no longer interested in wasted effort. The thought of all of that repeated killing, burying, digging up and going through the whole process over and over again actually makes my back hurt just thinking about it. If it were me, I think I would be a bit more inclined just to plant kudzu on a person's grave, if I despised them that much. Five minutes of labor and the deed is done, and then I could just sit in my rocking chair and watch that plant from hades work its ugly magic.
When I was 17 years old, I saw a KKK rally come marching through my tiny Southern town. It was a curiosity for me; it was literally the first time I ever even heard that there was such a thing. My impression of them and their "reasoning" was low, to say the least; they were filled with hatred toward others just because of the color of their skin, and they said really emotional yet stupid things.
Just exactly like what I listened to from the folks in that Tulsa rally.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." Solomon was right; there really is no new thing under the sun. Racial hatred and incitements to violence are never new; they just change logos and jerseys through the years. And they have always been wrong and will always be wrong. People who get saved and grow in Christ lay those things aside and literally do see each other as brothers, not as races. The church I pastor is utterly multicultural, and our guest preacher on July Fourth, of all days, will be a Black gentleman. But he is not speaking that day because he is Black; he is speaking that day because he has the power of God on his life, and we want to hear what God will say to us through him. That is the way Christianity works; that is the way forgiveness and togetherness work.
I encourage everyone not to have anything to do with people of any race who hate people of any other race. It would surely be a miserable way to live and is definitely not befitting to those who call themselves children of God. Live your lives for God, love others, work through problems with others one on one, peacefully, and never lump people together in "target groups" as if skin makes people monolithic automatons. We are all different and unique.
This has been a public-service announcement from your humble piece of Melba toast.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.