“Hate” is the unspoken element in our current discourse on race relations in America.

There was a time in this country’s history when we enslaved blacks – and whites – for one reason: the benefit of manual labor. Yes, there was disdain and disregard for the humanity of the slave, but underlying this lifestyle was one objective – get the work done without paying for it. It was truly inhumane and a sad, unfortunate part of our history.

Let’s take a breath, however, and review a few more facts, even as they relate to American slaves. Slavery has been a part of every civilization that has ever existed, and it has always been colorless, genderless and ageless. Even a cursory review of world history confirms this truth. It is the human condition, left in its natural state. It’s what man does to man.

Our 13 colonies declared independence from the master/slave relationship with England because of multiple inequities that gradually began to alter the life of those who had settled this land. Many of that time believed the slave trade, which had morphed from “indentured servants” to imported slavery, was diabolical and contradicted their own freedom. Indentured servants were contracted to serve an agreed-upon number of years, after which they would be free citizens. Bonafide, imported slavery was another matter altogether.

Eventually, the time came when the United States was on footing solid enough to address the slavery that was no longer tolerable to a people who believed in, and had fought for, freedom and equality. That belief in equality for everyone existed among many in this country, even in 1776. But dealing with slavery was, as we now know from history, so cataclysmic that clearly had it been part of our proposed separation from England – which is precisely what Thomas Jefferson proposed in the Declaration of Independence – our nation would never have survived such compound objectives in the War of Independence. The time was not yet.

Fast-forward to 1861, when hundreds of thousands of white (and black) citizens fought and died to finally expunge from the American experience such a heinous system as slavery, once and for all. It took a civil war and tragic loss of life to say to the world, and to ourselves, “We are better than this.”

We redefined ourselves as a nation because we did want to be better than that; we took the steps, albeit slowly, to free the oppressed and start anew. Was it all perfectly orchestrated and executed? Perhaps not, but it certainly was a tectonic shift upward and shone a light on the heart of a people who wanted equality and fairness for all, regardless of color. We had come so far, imperfections and all.

In the next century, seeing that there were remnants of inequality that lingered on, Martin Luther King Jr. followed with a peaceful call to action. A call to peacefully protest whatever ills remained and make the changes still needed for blacks – positive steps forward and a willingness to resolve problems peacefully. He sponsored no riots, no looting, no hate. It worked. Constitutional amendments for civil rights were the result. Finally, we had reached level ground, learning how to be united as one nation for all. So much was accomplished in the arena of race relations in America.

And then, we have “civil rights leaders” who began to stoke the fires of resentment, bitterness for past transgressions, divisiveness, phantom racism among whites, accusations, demands for restitution from offenses perpetrated on ancestors unknown and the list goes on. Hate was sown into the conversation and, little by little, what was once a country where whites and blacks could finally live together in peace and mutual respect has now become a nation of anger and murderous hatred among too many blacks toward whites.

The nature of things being what they are in the human heart, it is possible that if this attitude of entitlement and payback among the black community does not stop, along with the relentless accusations of racism leveled at every opportunity toward fair and honest whites, these self- same accusations of hate that they level at the white community will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is time to step back and reassess where this is going. I fear for the life and liberty our nation has collectively fought so hard to preserve, against all the odds and injustices.

We are better than this. Hate never gains ground; it is the great deceiver.

Have you ever wondered what African-Americans want, and why they vote Democratic? Do you know how slavery actually began in America? Ben Kinchlow’s best-selling book “Black Yellowdogs” breaks race and politics down in black and white. Get your copy today!

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