We must continue the challenging and undeniably worthwhile process of racial reconciliation, by empathizing with those who are hurt and listening to their grievances. Yet despite humanity’s tendency towards racism, we have an incredible capacity to love one another. Whatever one’s race may be, it is imperative that before we conclude an action is racially motivated we assume the best of our neighbor, situations, and country.
We have so many issues that divide us as a people. That’s OK. As President Obama reminded us in his farewell address, it is the nature of democracy to have competing ideologies and opinions. In the wake of such a racially contentious 2016, I pray that we will once again stand united when our Colors are presented and “The Star Spangled Banner” played.
For that flag and anthem do not represent one group of people or one deplorable part of our history. It represents all of us. It is bigger than any of us. In the midst of everything that divides us, may we at least find unity in our identity as Americans?
Aaron W. Reep is a writer from the Springfield area.
We should not forget that for every individual case of racism, there are countless examples of racial harmony all around us.