An hour or so ago I read and responded to an important point that was linked to on Twitter, made in the post, “An Open Letter to the Wall Street Activists.” That post was written by John Paul Montano, and his opinion can be read in its entirety at that link. Reading it first would clarify the response I had to it, which I share after the next paragraph.
I see much value in what Montano had to say, because history needs the voices of all its people to insure that it carries the truth. My readers will understand my dedication to the powers of empathy to heal us and show us the way to a better future together on this tiny planet, so I know you’ll understand why I wanted to repeat the comment I left at his post. Here it is:
I think the passage of centuries makes it difficult for your issues to be addressed to your satisfaction. As an African-American, I don’t live here because my ancestors came willingly to participate in what was done to your people. I’m not sure how you would want my people to word their query for permission, considering how upsetting it would be to add that insult onto our existing injury, but I still understand your point. I understand it more than you know.
Perhaps, more than the asking of permission, you might be better served at this date, with a public, all-encompassing acknowledgment of the grievous injustices that have been done to your people over these centuries. I believe you deserve an apology for it, and also thoughtful reparation, but I don’t think either of us should hold our breath for that kind of thing.
The reluctance the “powers that be” have in truthfully acknowledging the scope of the issues that have plagued my people in this country, along with their reluctance to discuss logical ways to make it right, illustrates the kind of thinking that impedes the conversation you want to have.
Unfortunately, human beings of countries all over the world have stolen lands from indigenous peoples. With so much history having passed, how could anyone ever say for sure who is the rightful “owner” of what place? In that one regard alone, yours are not the only people to have suffered greatly.
A last point to ponder: I wonder, who else could write something like this — someone whose past in this country is just as painful, but whose story we don’t know because we are each more familiar with our own, the ones our own ancestors lived?
I wonder if my response had a bit of a knee jerk in it. I’m open to a respectful conversation about that and the original points Montano made. What are your thoughts on this?