By Joe Rector
I’m guilty. I plead that to many things in my life. Some aren’t especially attractive, while others are just a bit goofy. Still, all of this time spent avoiding most people and places in order to stay healthy has found me looking a bit deeper at who I am. If confession is good for the soul, then I ought to feel wonderful by the end of this piece.
I suppose some folks might call me a racist. Yes, I’ve had Black friends and taught Black students. Still, I don’t understand their lives, struggles, and demands. I am a white man who has never outwardly attacked physically or verbally a person of another race. However, I have expressed frustrations at their anger that is so pointedly aimed at white folks. I suppose that makes me a racist.
Yes, racial equality must be achieved now. Every person, regardless of race or gender, should have the opportunities to succeed. What others will describe as racist are my proposals for achieving that. I believe that all families must insist that children stay in school, apply themselves, and graduate from high school. No child, regardless of color, should be allowed to drop out. In addition, all must continue their educations to develop skills in an academic discipline or a trade that provides a good income and choices in life. Last, I don’t believe in reparations for a certain group. Instead, I support pouring money into schools to make them places of excellence that offer choices for every student. That will help minorities achieve the equality that they want.
I further believe that most white folks aren’t racist. A minority is disgusting in its hate and attacks of Black Americans. At the same time, a minority of Blacks are in favor of more violent means to achieve their goals. Most of us believe that the time is now for equal opportunity and an equal playing field. We would all do well to ignore the few extremists in favor of the many like-minded individuals. Joining forces doubles our strength.
I further plead guilty to being intolerant. Another way of saying this is to describe me as someone who is “righteously indignant.” I live based on a set of principles, and I hold others accountable to these general rules, things such as telling the truth, obeying traffic rules, and treating others as they would like to be treated. My wife and son declare that I am Larry David’s double, only with a little more hair. Like him, if I see a wrong, I attempt to right it. The worst arguments I have are over principle.
Finally, I plead guilty to being a hopeless romantic. During my entire life, I’ve always looked for the ideal. The problem, however, is the “perfect” rarely is achieved. The “real” is much less exciting. Whether the topic has been a job, a car, a relationship, or home, my thoughts leaned toward over-the-top perfection, something that doesn’t exist and could never be obtained. Over the years, I learned that most things become better based only on the amount of work I was willing to put in. Luckily, my wife and family know my romantic leanings and put up with me until my feet touch the firm ground of reality.
If I’ve offended anyone with my admissions of guilt, I asked for your forgiveness. Even at my age, I am a work in progress. If some are unable to get passed my confessions of guilt, I will understand. Perhaps at some point, I’ll get all these things right.