Learning from Oklahoma City
by Connie Whiting
On the anniversaries of the Oklahoma City bombing, many of us observed the various memorials around the country for the victims. We relived the tragedy in our minds and hearts of that awful April day when so much was lost. Many observed the moments of silence and most shed tears of sorrow and shared feelings of anger that this could happen here in our America. Images that have become familiar to us after time, were once again flashed across our television screens. Familiar that is, but no less shocking than when we originally saw them.
There was one image I saw though that did not break my heart or fill me with anger. It was a healing image that brought to mind another great problem in our society. In this image I saw, were the seeds of the answer to that problem. The problem of racism and prejudice. What I saw was this. Two women, one white, one black, reaching out to one another in their sorrow. They held each other as the tears ran down their faces. They comforted one another holding tight and whispering words of encouragement. Now maybe these two knew one another already or maybe they were strangers before this bombing. It seems to me though that whenever there is tragedy or a common cause (i.e., the Gulf War) Americans seem to pull together and color is a little less of an issue.
When we saw the pictures of the bombed federal building, did we say “how can they do that to our black America or our white America?” No, we said how can they do that to in America? We didn’t cry for just the black children or the white children that lost their lives. We cried for the children. So I ask everyone, why does it take great sorrow or pain to bring us together as human beings? Then after the tragedy has healed somewhat why do we go back to our petty arguments and prejudices? Why can’t we of all races just try to understand and accept our differences.
Yes, the past is filled with hate and pain and hurt. Yes, there are still people of all races out there that will hate you because of your skin color and for no other reason than your skin color. But we have to stop being afraid of them and of each other, Lets develop friendships and talk about these race issues without the pointing accusing fingers. Those pointing fingers, that kind of hate is what triggers things like the Oklahoma City bombing, the riots, the murders and beatings. Why don’t we use the example of the two women and offer words and actions of friendship and encouragement before the tragedy this time? We are all human beings. Please think about it and lets all give ourselves a chance.
Connie Whiting is a 39 year old virtual assistant and freelance writer.
Copyright © 2000 Connie Whiting. All rights reserved.