Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Still too busy to keep up, but this was neat

That title sums up all sorts of things going on lately.

Monday, I attended the local Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at a local school gym. It was quite an experience. Especially in contrast to the last musically oriented event I covered -- the North Carolina Symphony visit. Frankly, the orchestra is more up my alley -- but I'm glad I got to stroll down this other alley for a bit.

It was a fascinating experience. The singers and dancers were surprisingly good. The atmosphere was unique. I felt a little out of place (I think I counted four white adults in the place -- one of the others was a reporter for a competing paper), and people kept looking at me just a little funny, but I'll assume that was due almost as much to that monstrous camera I tote around as to my color. No one went out of their way to make me uncomfortable, and many were downright friendly. And the event gave me a slightly different perspective on a lot of things that some of us don't think about very often.

It still seems odd sometimes that the people who spoke in that gym still remember when an African-American couldn't walk through the front door of a fast food place and order food like anybody else -- just as when I visited a Holocaust memorial service in a synagogue, it was astounding listening to people who remember their families being slaughtered.

More disturbing, though, sometimes, is how quickly people forget. They forget how ugly times can be when decisions are made based on the color of a person's skin, or the background of their ancestors, rather than that person's own actions. Sometimes, we learn nothing from history. Sometimes, perhaps even worse, we learn the wrong things from history. And sometimes, going to an event like this can help us learn the right things from history.

There's lots more happening in the crazy place that is my family's life, but it'll have to wait for another post.


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