Since the school year ended and I have lots of free time, I've picked up reading again. This may come as a surprise to my high school teachers since I only read two of the novels we were assigned all the way through (Night by Elie Wiesel and Count of Monte Cristo), but I really enjoy it now. I'm in the middle of reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, telling the story of life in 1964 Jackson, Mississippi from the perspective of two black maids ("the help") and one white woman. The white woman is trying to publish a collection of interviews of the maids in the town and their experiences in this pre-segregation town.
This book has gotten to me to thinking...in the story, some of the white people recognize the injustices going on in their world (i.e. a black boy being blinded for accidently using the white bathroom) but don't speak out for fear of losing their social standing, money, etc. While some of the racial injustices have been dealt with, how often is it that we witness injustice today and just ignore it? Are things really different from the 1960s?
I also thought about this subject when packing for my mission trip to Chicago next week. The organization we are working with sent out materials telling us what to do in order to prepare, and they made sure to tell us not to bring any solid red or solid light blue shirts, hats, bandanas, etc. because of the gang activity in Chicago. Is gang activity different from the violence and discrimination during the 1960s? People associating with, excluding, shooting at, killing people over the color they wear? Have things really changed?
I guess this is a pretty heavy first blog post, but I've been thinking about this a lot today. If we cannot get past what's on the outside, we are never going to move forward.