A Race For Freedom

By: C. L. Bryant

To put America in perspective from the point of view of someone who came from the human gumbo that is my native state of Louisiana, my family member range in skin color from eggplant to cauliflower, so I have been blessed by virtue of the Creole exposure with an outlook on race in America that needs to be re-examined. The subject has been talked at - not about, but AT - a good many times, and there have emerged well-intentioned statements like: "There's only one Race, the HUMAN RACE." That statement is true. We are a race of humanity, but there is no denying that regardless of how we try to spin it, ever since the fall of the Biblical Tower of Babel, Earth's people have acknowledged a distinction in themselves.

I was born in 1956 in Shreveport, Louisiana, in a hospital called Confederate Memorial, at a time when colored people did indeed have a distinct place. I would grow to experience riding at the back of public buses, drinking from colored and white water fountains, and going to what was known as Negro Day at the Louisiana State Fair. Negro Day was the one day that "Negroes" - as Blacks were called back then - could attend out of the two weeks of the fair. Reflecting on those times from the vantage point of present-day America, I must say that even though the social equality was not better the, the people were better. Black people in particular, even in the real and seemingly no-way-out predicament of the segregated South, there seemed to be a certain hope that a better day would come soon. And it did.

Too many people in today's America want to convince our young people that they are somehow experiencing oppression. They are slowly stealing the valor of those who paid a heavy price for the unabashed liberty they enjoy and the privilege they have to rail against the machine without being beaten senseless or literally attacked by dogs. Today's so-called oppressed have failed to take advantage of the opportunities their predecessors truly thirsted for. American youth today complain about being hungry while carrying two loaves of bread under their arms. It is my sincerest hope that we may build a bridge to a new and rational conversation on the most elusive of all our proposed conquests as we sail on this shallow sea of color. We are all in a race together to reach the final frontier of cooperation and understanding.


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