We Shall Over Come…At This Point I’d Settle for We Shall Coexist

We Shall Overcome is the go to song whenever there is a civil rights conflict. The people stoicly sing it as an anthem that projects hope and resolve, but is it realistic? Do we actually know “deep in our hearts” that overcoming is an option? As i have watched the Charleston coverage this week I am struck by the fact that we are quoting Dr. King’s words of 50 years ago and they seem relevant in 2015. That does not give me hope it gives me a sense of despair. I’m not one of those people who say nothing has changed since King’s death, but we have to accept there are some deep seated thoughts passed on through generational lore that will not change. Grandparents and parents pass on their life experiences to there children and children take that to heart. The South Carolina Church killer spoke about things that the killers of Emmit Till probably said to him as they tortured him to death over 50 years ago. Racism is real and lives today among us. Not just in the South but everywhere. Not all racist are killers and not all racist would self-define. We can’t change the hearts and minds of everyone and singing We Shall overcome might give a sense of peace while we sing it but after the last note is uttered we walk back into the real world we need to find a way to simply coexist.

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Comments

  • elogam  On June 20, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I ceased to sing “We Shall Overcome” years ago. If we haven’t “overcome” by now we never shall. There are stark differences between now and 50 years ago. Back in the day a large percentage of the population of South Carolina would have covertly or overtly celebrated the man. Law Enforcement would have been dragging it’s feet, complaining about “outside agitators” injecting themselves into “local problems”. Instead we have the boy’s own uncle saying he’d personally push the button if his nephew gets the death penalty. We have local and federal law enforcement working together quickly and efficiently to get this young man arrested and extradited back to South Carolina to face justice. The have quickly and forcefully jump on top of and stayed ahead of this incident, and I think that’s the way it should be. Yes, there is racism in the world, and specifically here in the US. But it is not the same as in my grandfather’s day.

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