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Race relations, up close and personal

Justice, the prerequsit for peace
Justice, the prerequsit for peace
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Blinded by love, I strolled hand in hand with my black fiance' down the streets of Memphis as I looked for an angle to best present the story of the KKK rally. The official stance of the KKK is that they don't hate anyone. They just love their own race, and who can fault them for that?

Everyone is entitled to their own private thoughts. The problem occurs when private thoughts that don't support the best interests of all of the people go public. Then, whether we're talking about Hebrews and Arabs in the Middle East or skin heads and blacks in the deep south, that local area has a problem. Then, when racist ideas begin to promote the benefits of one group at the expense of the other, the entire country and world suddenly has a problem.

It was one thing when it was just one tribe feuding with another. However, now that ideas travel around the world as fast as the push of a button, and people from all tribes have moved globally, local racist ideas just don't stay local for very long. They run head on into the reality of one human race, and presents us with a very distinct line in sand between those who are doing their best to work with that reality and those who are still fighting it in order to maintain their inherited, elite positions.

With the exception of the Queen of England (“God save the queen!”), who still exists as a figure head, monarchies mostly went down in flames over the past few hundred years because people have universally realized that the unique claim to divinity that those rulers made was bogus. Those kingdoms went down hard and fast. However, racist ideas have remained and still surface from the rubble of those old elitist regimes.

Those who speak the king's English with the proper British accent still sound superior to most people. And when we think of slums, we usually think of them being filled with the old slave race – usually blacks, although other minorities can also make a good case for being a slave race.

Unfortunately, deposing the kings didn't entirely end their kingdoms, because while they were in power, they disbursed much of their ill-gotten gains to their family and allies who set up shop here in the states as minor monarchs. They were the landowners who became the business owners – and they are the politicians that pose as representatives of the people, when they often owe allegiance to the elite just as the rulers always have.

This is an economic and social problem that affects everyone everywhere one way or another. This is the stuff news stories are made of. However, at its root, it's problem of perception. We all usually relate best to those who are most like us. And we never really see what life is actually like on the other side of the fence if we don't move there.

I have made that move! It wasn't to gather insight into the socioeconomic situations, or to better understand the realities that still impose subservience on the old slave race. Although, those insights and understandings have resulted.

Also, I've become very conscious that I've entered into this world without any sense of superiority. Many from my old world may find that hard to believe, but anyone who's ever lived with a strong black woman will completely know what I mean and have no problem believing me. NO ONE in the household ever feels superior to the strong black matriarch for very long. I don't usually feel inferior, but I now live in a very dynamic relationship with that beautiful black woman with which I once explored a KKK rally.

So, I suddenly find myself in a unique position to report on race relations in one of the nations biggest hubs of racial conflicts, a city that is over 63% black; Memphis, the place Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the home of Elvis, and the center of my new world, where I'm hitting the streets and experiencing racism up close and personal.

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