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Lord, please help me because you know that I’m so white,
I have this great big house and degrees that say I’m bright,
An elite social standing and a high-paying job,
All my friends at church….. they call me “Brother Bob!”
I can’t seem to understand or find a reason to care,
About all the people, their pain and despair,
Many of them are Black and Hispanic….. a few of them are not,
But I guess I just don’t take the time to stop and give it a second thought.
I look at the world and wonder what it’s coming to,
People yelling, screaming and cursing at me and you,
It doesn’t seem to make any sense and I can’t figure out why,
So many people hate and despise us….. sometimes even wanting us to die.
We tell them not to get so upset, to just settle down and smile,
You know that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”….. it takes a little while,
We’ll do what we can….. just don’t get so mad,
Just because of our racial slurs and off-color jokes….. we’re not really all that bad.
And then they’re always attributing their problems to race,
Always trying to excuse their behavior solely because of the color of their face,
Their poverty, their unemployment, and their pain….. and the reason is always the same,
It should be quite obvious that they themselves are to blame.
Then one day as the anguish began to rise,
Surely, to anyone who was sane, it should not have been a surprise,
Rage-induced frustration exploded into flame,
Right then and there…..forcing The White Man to face his part of the blame!
So….. after all these years of slavery and oppression,
The white man’s cruelty….. his mean-spirited aggression,
Is there enough evidence to put us on trial,
Because of our insensitivity and flagrant denial?
Why are we always judging the other man?
Wouldn’t it be better to first consider the imperfections of those of our own clan?
To consider our own iniquity and sin?
Wouldn’t that be a much more healing place to begin?
Shouldn’t we let those of another color judge their own kind?
Freeing us to do the same….. to see what we might find?
This would lead us away from conflict and strife,
And back toward each other….. a much more decent way of life.
It was then that I began to listen….. it was then that I first heard,
Through my conscience….. God gave me The Word,
What if they were me and I had suffered for so long---- while not free?
How would I feel if they had no empathy….. no feelings of concern for me?
What if I had been the one beaten, bruised and despised?
One of those living in a society where prejudice and discrimination has become institutionalized?
What if I could not get a good job because I was different….. because I was Black?
And my children had to suffer the painful indignity of such an unjust economic lack?
The chilling truth then became clear,
My life had been filled with blind hate and fear,
I had been the one to crucify My Savior,
Because of my own malicious and spiteful behavior.
So let us begin to love one another,
And discover the truth that we are, in fact, each other’s brother,
Let us realize that God is love and that He lives for you and me,
But not until we learn to have this kind of love for each other will we all be free.
The promise of a better world to come is a wonderful thing to hear,
This earth could be filled with compassion, rather than hate and fear,
But if we fail to respond….. if we choose not to care,
The future of an entire generation may become a fiery nightmare.
Like lava just below the surface waiting to explode,
Tensions have been building and are ready to unload,
If we do nothing….. have no thing to say,
This world will surely continue on in such a malicious way.
Time is of great essence, a decision must be made,
For the destiny of an entire nation may be determined this very decade,
Let us choose to love and respond to God’s grace,
For this is the fundamental solution to the problems of the human race.
G. Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D.