I am an American.
I’ve been called Colored, Negro, Black, African American, high yellow, and even uncle Tom by some. I’ve also been called bubblehead, Super Fly, senior chief by others. But first and foremost I am an American. I will always be an American even though America isn’t a perfect country.
I once swore an oath to defend America from it’s enemies, both domestic and foreign. That oath still stands. Further, I will not be pandered to nor will I accept the pandering from anyone because of my race or ethnicity. And I will not accept special consideration because of my race or ethnicity. Likewise, I will not not accept being harassed, mistreated, or denied because of my race or ethnicity. I am a man and can stand on my own through success or failure.
I have faith and I trust my life to God. We are all brothers on this planet whether we like it or not and often what’s good for one is good for the other. I also walk to the beat of my own drum, so don’t expect me to be what you think I should be.
I love my fellow man, so I try not to use harsh or vulgar language towards those I don’t agree with. I’ve seen war, death, and injustices throughout the years of my life, yet I still shed a tear when I see my country being torn apart. I’ve also seen kindness, good will, friendship, and the positive things that happen when people come together. That is the real strength of America and it makes me even more proud.
Those are the things that I am. I neither hate nor condone hate, so if you disagree with me or even dislike me, it doesn’t matter. I am who I am, given my strength by my grandparents, my family, and my mother and guided by someone far greater than most of you know.
If anyone wonders why I often post on racial issues, it’s because I believe that if we know our history, we can appreciate how far we’ve come. I’ve lived through the segregated bathrooms, the threat of KKK raids, the civil rights struggles, the riots in Detroit and a lot more. But, the one thing I have seen in my 75 years is the greatness of America and the civility of her people. Since “racism” and “racist” seem to have been entranced into the rhetoric of the left, it’s more important now than ever to put out the truth, without color or bias. Also, you can’t hold present or future generations responsible for what happened 200 years ago. The country was different then and the world was certainly less civilized. Holding grudges is the last resort of the ignorant.
However, we also need to keep in mind that no matter how oppressive America was in the past, it allowed people of all ethnicities to gain an education, become doctors, lawyers, and scientists. African Americans who were the sons of ex slaves became millionaires. “Poverty”? Americans of all ethnicities have suffered poverty at some point of their history, as well as some form of discrimination..
America has a constitution and a bill of rights. There are also volumes of state and city laws that have been passed to protect the rights of everyone. But, passing laws doesn’t change the minds of people. Only people can do that. You also have to realize that a law only gives you legal rights. You don’t eliminate racism by calling everything racist and you don’t end discrimination by burning flags or tearing down monuments. Burning the confederate flag didn’t eliminate racism, it only strengthened the position of real racists and alienated others to identify with extreme groups..
The first time I went to the movies in Grenada, Mississippi back in 1955, we had to sit in the balcony. I didn’t quite understand this as the balcony seats were probably the best seats in the house. We weren’t allowed to buy concessions in the main lobby, so the adults would carry in some sodas and bags of fried chicken for us to snack on.
I wish our politicians and world leaders would concentrate more on bringing us together that tearing us apart. We are all of one family and share the same needs and wants. Even those we call “enemies” have families, wives, sisters and brothers. The world is full of richness if we stop, look, and think… Hate, anger, avarice, and prejudice doesn’t benefit anyone. But most of all, think of what kind of world do you want your children to inherit. Each of us should strive to make the world a better place than what we were born into and it can be done by one person or with one gesture at a time.
Fredric Durrette served one tour in Vietnam, retired as E8 in the navy submarine service after 23 years. Major hobbies are collecting old stuff from the 20s and restoring old racing bicycles. Worked as a commercial photographer at JL Hudsons in Detroit and continue photography as a hobby. Love Sade, sixties soul, seventies rock, and all jazz. Attended Woodstock in 69!