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We all share guilt for failure to oppose wrongdoing

I disagree with some of the fundamentals of Nick Christie's column. First, to contend that because terrible things happened in a place, that society should forevermore live in the shame and shadow of those events is to disallow for healing. Would we want all of Spain today to still be atoning for the Inquisition? Should people from the South replace their "Southern by the grace of God" bumper stickers with decals reading "Ashamed to be born into a society that did terrible things." And if so, shouldn't every member of the human race bear such an insignia, not just the South?

I do want to thank Christie for dragging this into the public eye. It is too easy for us to brush atrocities under the rug and, without any real apology, to move on. These lynchings happened; hundreds of people were brutally murdered by mobs with no legal recourse.

Perhaps the real reason I am so hurt and offended by this column is because I am guilty too. I am a Southerner, and I have contributed to systems of racism and sexism and classism. Despite all my attempts to be better than I am, I have, through my own insensitivity, contributed directly to these systems. I have not stood up as quickly as I should have in the face of wrongdoing. I, inasmuch as all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, have hurt people. We all have.

The beauty and grace of our lives and our societies is not found in being guiltless, but in recognizing that despite our failures, we still have the ability to strive to be more and attempt to right the wrongs that will always be a part of this world.


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