While many would see the above image as horrifying proof of racism in America, we must remember the flip side. Yes, there were racists, but as the cartoon says, the Republican congress gave blacks the right to vote and pushed for racial equality. The fact that violence and hatred still remained after the Civil War does not negate the valiant works of many white and black Republicans who fought and sometimes died to see that real freedom for all would not remain just a dream. I admire the men and women of the past and present who put race on the back burner and fight for freedom for all.
All too often we only see the massacres, the riots and the acrimony between the races (I suggest this would be true studying any society), but there is so much more to people than that. People were often horrified at the troubles between the races in the late 19th century, but put yourself back there after asking yourself how many hours you’ve spent watching the news and despairing at the idea that there’s nothing you can do to stop people in faraway places from victimizing each other. How many of us would have stood up to paramilitary groups inflamed by not only race hatred but by defeat, sudden poverty and loss? How many of us would have cowered or turned away in disgust after years of endless suffering and loss of human life?
Bravery is a rare and beautiful thing. We like to imagine ourselves brave. How many of us actually are?