Wrestling Matches and Fight Night
In the South, we grow up watching the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWW), Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and UFC fight nights with our daddies. Wrestling matches and fight night may be their way of preparing us for what lay ahead for us in the struggle for equal opportunity and equal rights.
Dr. Jessica Wilkerson of Reckon South reminds us in a matter of fact way, “That to leave here, you have to fight.” In her podcast she states, “For decades, Southerners have fought for civil and human rights. What does coalition building look like in a region divided by race?”
Equal Opportunity, Equal Access
In a nation divided by race, coalition building happens when we seek to provide equal opportunities and equal access to everyone. We achieve this when we:
- Acknowledge past events and their contribution to present conditions. (Take off the rose-colored glasses)
- Embrace the strengths of individual racial groups. (Use everyone’s skills, talents, and abilities to grow the US economy)
- Go out of our way to get to know someone different from us. (I AM MY BROTHER’S KEEPER!)
- Believe and act as if there is more that unites us than that which divides us. (“Proud to be an American”)
Past Due Accounts
The South and the United States is having a moment of racial reckoning. We have to settle some past due accounts.
Reckoning or reconciliation is actually an accounting term. Monies spent have to match the amount shown leaving the account.
In the emotional bank account of life, the only way to avoid being overdrawn with each other is to make sure that withdrawals do not exceed deposits.
Only through the process of reconciliation can all accounts be settled.
Merriam-Webster provides a thought provoking definition of reconciliation. It is the process of finding a way to make two different ideas, facts, etc., exist or be true at the same time.
The only logical path forward is mutual coexistence and equality.
As a child, I was the self-appointed peacemaker who helped settle neighborhood disputes. I remember breaking up the group that had gathered in my parents’ front yard for a fight after getting off the school bus one day. I came to the front door and told the group that this was not the way to settle things. They listened and went home. No fight that day. Since that Nobel Peace prize winning day, I have had to personally reckon with my own fight for civil and human rights. I had to reckon some things – judge, make a calculation, and settle some accounts.
We must choose to put aside our differences or risk mutual self-destruction.