William Faulkner wrote "[t]he past is never dead. It's not even past." When I saw this article in the Daily Press this week, I could not help but think of that.
Sometimes, it is hard to believe that less than a decade before I was born, Jim Crow laws were in full effect. And it is also hard to believe how some people are to act like the era of Jim Crow ended like a century ago. Growing up in the Hampton Roads area when I did, I never really considered the things that my family experienced during the mid-20th century.
I think that much of the tension that exists in terms of race relations within the nation stems directly from that Faulkner quotation. One group remembers vividly what happened, and wants continual acknowledgment of that past. Another group also remembers vividly what happened, and wants to avoid that continual acknowledgment, for whatever reason(s).
That we, as a nation, have come so far in terms of race relations within my lifetime is incredible and commendable. But to those who think that we've done all that we needed to do, I have a winning lottery ticket that I would like to sell to you. Being able to look back on the past, as was done in that Daily Press article, is important, because it is a reminder that we should never forget where we were just a few decades ago.
We've done well. Let's keep that excellence trajectory going, and we can show the world exactly how wonderful and dynamic the American experiment really is.