Strange Fruit a song by Lewis Allen
I am sharing a paper that I wrote for a Human Development Class I am taking. While the papers do not directly reference Holistic Health they do reflect insight as to how we as cohabitors of Mother Earth interact with one another!
There are references to a few films and documentaries as well as the textbook.
Does race matter? What is race? Is there a pure race? Just a week or so ago I was having this very discussion with my husband Jeff. He contended that we are one, we are all from the same source! And yes he knows that I firmly believe in one-ness and equality. My beliefs are we are all one, one species, one mind, one heart. However, for the sake of our discussion and how it relates to the Human Development course I am taking, race and religion are different; race creates a separation, a segregation. I do not think that race can even be defined in scientific terms. Religion, on the other hand, is a belief. Ethnicity is considered to be related to where we and or our ancestors originated as a nationality (Schaefer, 2015, p. 6).
How can we prove race? Skin tone? Blood tests? DNA? No, there is nothing that can definitely determine your race. Depending upon ones belief, there is no doubt that we all came from the same source; ultimately God (whatever term you use to define the one true source). Whether we believe in creation and we came from Adam and Eve or we believe in evolution and we came from the amoeba, the fact remains we are all one.
Do we all need to act white? Acting white has been associated with speaking proper English and choosing to listen to something other than hip-hop (Schaefer, 2015, p. 191). I find this definition of acting white to be ridiculous. This is a form of the scapegoat theory, in my opinion (Schaefer, 2015, p. 37). Michael Dyson is quoted saying “When you think the problems are personal, you think the solutions are the same” (Schaefer, 2015, p. 191). He means that when we take something personally then the solution is also personal. In my experience with my grandchildren, proper English is a necessity. Now, this may make me sound racist. But it is not! The same conclusion would be drawn no matter the color of the skin or the nationality of anyone who uses improper English. Likewise, if you are speaking any other language proper usage is expected. Speaking Spanish, French, or German etc. communication depends on the proper expression and use of the words.
That brings us to color-blind racism (Schaefer, 2015, p. 42 and 192). It is widely believed that lower social class is recognized rather than racial inferiority. This again is another issue of blaming the victim. While it is true that statistics may show that the number of African Americans vs “white” is higher in poverty and socio-economical degradation, the fact remains that this is not a race or color issue exclusively. There is evidence of medical apartheid throughout history. Medical apartheid is the term used to describe unequal healthcare (Schaefer, 2015, p. 201). This also is not just a race issue. Inadequate medical attention can be experienced by anyone living in an under-developed or less privileged area.
Is social distance the only answer to equal status (Schaefer, 2015, p. 50)? Social distance can be considered a form of assimilation (Schaefer, 2015, p. 79). In 1968, a scale called the Bogardus Scale was used in a study to determine or measure how people of different skin color might interact under specific circumstances (Schaefer, 2015, p. 51). It was determined that social distance was prevalent in groups of people with different racial and ethnic origins.
Research has proven that in harmonious situations (non-competitive) most of the time people, despite cultural differences, will come together and work toward the common goal. This happens only when there is positive contact on a regular basis. The contact hypothesis suggests that the more one comes in contact with those who are different, prejudice and stereotyping diminishes (Schaefer, 2015, p. 50). To work toward this contact, equality is needed. As African Americans and other subordinate groups achieve better education, better jobs, and better homes and we witness less separation, we can pray that prejudice can be eliminated. Contact with another person is a very real way to learn more about them and understand who they are.
In the film Long Walk Home, despite the economic and social differences between Miriam Thompson and Odessa Cotter, we see how positive contact can create understanding and caring to spite physical differences. During the bus boycott sparked in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1950’s by Rosa Parks, these two women came together with as much love and understanding as was available to them at the time.
Miriam’s husband was a typical southern white man of the time. He did not show any signs of belief in equality, just the opposite! His membership in a white leadership group, his association with the prejudiced white members of his family, and his intense fear and hatred of African Americans was evident in his statement “like a dog knowing a cat; they are two different species…one cannot truly know the other.” He firmly believed in Jim Crow (Schaefer, 2015, p.171), which allowed legal separation and discrimination of another human being. He supported redlining, (Schaefer, 2015, p.68) which did not allow a person of color to be able to afford homes in the “white” communities, leading to relative deprivation of those less fortunate (Schaefer, 2015, p. 181).
Rosa Parks’ act of civil disobedience took great courage and led to a very positive change in society (Schaefer, 2015, p. 179). Thanks to her and others like her, I hope that my grandchildren will never have to face the horrible treatment evident in history.
Dr. Horton’s article Non-Euclidean Feminism demonstrates that his contact with Annie also created a love and connection between two very different people. This connection proves how contact with others creates a bond and promotes love of one another. Differences in skin color and economic standing does not have to lead to segregation.
I hope to one day live in a world where hate crimes (Schaefer, 2015, p. 61) such as the one described in the song Strange Fruit are eliminated. I do not want to have to explain ethnophaulisms (Schaefer, 2015, p. 33) such as nigger or cracker to my grandchildren. Putting hatred and fear into words that purposefully hurt another life is an evil that cannot easily be explained.
Prejudice cannot exist if we are all one… Unconditional love is our birthright! There should not be judgement or condemnation. We are all one!
“Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood at the root, black body swinging in the southern breeze…Here is a strange and bitter crop.” From the music and lyrics of Lewis Allen, Strange Fruit