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Opinion: Retribution is not the way to go

Debt: “Something owed.”

Retribution: “Something given or demanded in return.”

Reimbursing a debt is normal, obligatory; retribution is not.

Retribution can be effective, it can work. If one person steals another and the thief is caught, it is reasonable that the thief should be obliged to reimburse the stolen person. The thief has not only contracted a debt but rather an obligation to repair in the form of retribution. But our criminal justice system rarely applies the concept of punishment fairly. Yes, the disbeliever is caught, charged and sentenced, but oddly, the victims are rarely reimbursed for their loss. Rather, it is the system, the government, that is reimbursed assuming the criminal has harmed us all, so we are all supposedly reimbursed, rather than just the victim. Is it right? Does it work ? Are we all reimbursed? Usually a resounding “No”!

The latest fad in retribution includes the similar philosophies of WOKE and CRT, the principle that because white people in the past discriminated against black people, all white people living today owe all black people retribution or reimbursement. alive today. Undoubtedly, whites have discriminated against blacks terribly in the past. It was, and still is, an incredible evil. But is the retribution fair? Will it work? Will he punish the culprits and repair the damage? Obviously not. On the contrary!

There are negative and positive aspects associated with aging. One of the positive points is the possibility of reflecting, remembering and being able to decide for oneself rather than having to rely on the opinion of others. Such is my case in matters of segregation. I lived through its final stages and witnessed some of its negative effects.

My parents owned a meat market and a slaughterhouse, so around the age of 12 I was behind our counter wearing a white butcher’s apron folded so it wouldn’t drag in the sawdust on our wooden floor. concrete, waiting for our customers, about half of which were black. More than half of our seven or eight employees were also black. Having learned from my parents the Southern custom of saying “Yes, Sir” and “Yes, Madam” to adults, I continued this practice with all of our clients, until—. One day, my mother waved me at the back of our meat market away from everyone and quietly told me that we hadn’t said “Yes, sir” and “Yes. Ma’am” to “colored” people, to which I replied, “Yes, Ma’am” and waited about a week until I thought she wasn’t looking anymore and continued my practice. Again once she pulled me from the back and this time said demonstratively (and I remember every word) “If you keep saying ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘Yes, madam’ to those people from color, I’m going to tell your daddy!” Well, that caught my attention, totally unaware that of course my dad already knew about my social faux pas, but was blaming the bad guy on my mom. that otherwise proper with our black clients, I reluctantly and with deep reservations stopped what was considered my aberrant behavior.

Seventeen years later, I was 29 and returning from Vietnam having survived a year of infantry combat. I had seen five of my men die, three were white and one black, and while a fight raged I had held a Puerto Rican boy in my arms as he quietly died calling out for his mother. That’s what I said quietly, in private, to my wonderful, loving, hard-working Christian parents: “If we’re good enough to go to a foreign land to fight and die for someone else’s freedom , then we are all good enough to enjoy it. freedom in our own country. I think my mother understood; my father understood, but he rejected what I said.

As a young adult, I noticed an ambivalence that my father showed whenever a particular black man was one of our clients. Before he graduated from college and joined the military, I learned that he was the head of the NAACP in our area. Upon my return from Vietnam, I visited him at his auto repair shop in the east of town and we had an interesting and informative conversation. When I asked him what it takes to make black and white people get along, I’ll never forget his words, “Well, I think men like your dad and me are going to have to get out of here. “Now that they’re both ‘out of here,’ how are we doing? Apparently not very well, and I think I know why.”

I sympathize with our black leaders when they remind us of the indignities and dangers black people suffered at the hands of white people during slavery and segregation, but I get angry when I am blamed for it. And I get angry when I remember how I and the other white employees I knew were treated at one of the HBCUs in Mississippi, and because of what I heard, but which I don’t I have not personally witnessed discrimination against whites on an Indian reservation.

Here is what I have come to understand and believe about racism:

Racism has very little to do with race, but almost everything to do with how the group in power treats those without. This principle applies to all human categories: race, age, sex, religion, wealth, appearance, education, knowledge, social or professional level, etc., ad infinitum!

Love, justice, mercy, understanding? Sure means of resolution.

Punishment? Destruction guaranteed!

Clyde Morgan is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He lives at Crossgates in Brandon.