In the category of “something to pray for” . . .
I was watching the ABC Nightly News last Thursday night when they showed a story about the terrible prejudice and violence raging between the Uighurs and the Han in China. The images were particularly awful – men and women with bloody faces, people crying. Horrible. Particularly striking was the still photo of a single Uighur woman, whose husband and brothers had been arrested and taken no one knows where, standing up to the Chinese soldiers. You can see video of this story here.
How easy it is to say, “That is terrible. But it isn’t here.” But you only had to watch the very next story to have that shoved right back in your face.
The next story was about a community swimming pool in suburban Pennsylvania that had a contract with an inner city day camp to allow its children – almost all of the African-American – to use the pool one or two days a week. When the children showed up, white people got out of the pool and made comments about how the black children might steal from them, etc. You know the kind of thing. I won’t honor them with repeating those foul ideas here. Then, in what must surely be the worst case of tin ear in a decade, a spokesperson for the swimming pool issued a statement saying because they worried that the black children might “change the complexion” of their pool, they were returning the camp’s money and canceling their contract. You can watch video of this story here.
It does happen here. Everyday. Everywhere – despite the election of the first African-American president, the nomination of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, the first whatever. Watch these two stories. Look at the faces of the Uighur woman who has endured state-sponsored racism and the little boy who was told he wasn’t good enough to swim with the white folks. Then, in the coming week, let’s all offer this prayer for tolerance and understanding taken from the Islamic tradition:
IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL, look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the controversial teachings of arrogance, divisions and hatreds which have badly infected our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; reunite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish Your purposes on earth; that, in Your good time, all nations and races may jointly serve You in justice, peace and harmony.