Working to bridge race divide in America

Published 6:53 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2017

At no other time in my life have I feared for the future of America. Virtually every respectable opinion poll validates that the country is just as polarized on racial and social issues as it had been in the 1960s, leading up to major civil rights advances for blacks.

So, if we really are interested in a greater America, we must truly move forward together to bridge this great divide. Whites and blacks interested in a greater America must not be shy or reluctant to condemn those among us who practice racism, believing that one race is better than the other, and should be denied the privileges and guarantees provided to everyone under our Constitution. Two cases of reckless activities by “thugs” validate my position:

1. When “black thugs” not long ago, attacked a physically impaired white person, the former president and “all” blacks should not have been accused of being disinterested in the crime because of the race of the thugs. There were demands from conservative, shock, -broadcast media for the attack to be considered a hate crime. The story spread like wildfire becoming a cause celebre for groups like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

2. But … hold on! A thug is a thug no matter the race. To “move forward together” our white brothers and sisters must understand that a crime is a crime no matter who commits it. Several white high school football players in Dietrich, Idaho sexually assaulting a black disabled teammate. During the October 15, 2015, assault in a high school locker room a teammate held his arms out to the disabled youth. The youth thinking that he was about to get a hug, was instead, viciously attacked. As we move forward toward racial reconciliation, we must understand that these youth are also thugs. The attack on this youth, we now know, was planned because of the color of his skin and is no less a hate crime than the one committed by the black youth.

3. The increase in the shootings of police officers (committed in some instances by blacks) and blacks being killed by law enforcement should not be politicized. America is a country of laws. Dialogue on these important issues is the solution to these problems — not hatred and suspicion. The fact of the matter is that America is basically a Christian nation. Surely a Christian man cannot claim to be saved and yet hate his brother or sister.  In 1 John 4:20-21, God calls anyone a liar if they claim to be a believer and yet hates their brother or sister, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

Dr. Glenn Dowell is an author and columnist who currently lives in Jonesboro. He has been a guest speaker on major college campuses, including having appeared on TV programs such as the Oprah Winfrey Show.  He may be reached at