They got freedom and civil rights, so why so much anger today?

Chapter 3




A black social worker, who had picked me up while I was vagabonding in Florida, had told me about Charles Smith, and brought me to his little house. Both he and the other blacks in the area told me that Charles Smith is different from other blacks and in fact looks down on them.



Charles Smith was too young to understand why older Africans would throw him overboard, although this was common to save children from slavery.



Smith and many other Africans are not able to understand black Americans today.



When he was sold in 1853, he was too old to suffer the internal scarring of most blacks who were forced to cultivate subservient character traits to avoid vicious punishment or death for any sign of resistance.



He was never brought up to be a slave, with all the subjugation of the mind this involves.



I noticed that such survival behavior among blacks still exists today and it struck me that if slavery had left such deep mental scars, then true freedom is yet to be achieved.



Many of the things I recalled reading about in the newspapers during my schooldays I now, in my journey, saw in a new light. I remembered how only in the 1960's did the U.S. finally become a democracy, when all its citizens gained the right to vote.



I was surprised to find that, for instance, the state of Louisiana has more than 257,000 illiterates. Is it not the duty of a democracy to educate all of its citizens?  Not until the civil rights movement in the 60's did America become a democracy when everybody got the right to vote.



Martin Luther King - and the thousands of civil rights demonstrators he came to symbolize - changed the most overt and primitive forms of discrimination.



"I have a dream, that one day on the red hills of Georgia,



the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.



I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation



where they will not be judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character."



Martin Luther King's beautiful dreams hung continuously in my consciousness, but it soon became obvious that the only dream which perhaps has come true is the one that blacks are no longer entirely judged on the color of their skin, but also on the content of their character - a character which will be forever separate from the white until the "hills and valleys" of society are leveled.



To see black character traits deviate so much from those of whites and of Africans helped me to understand the enormous mental subjugation of slavery - a system not only based on violence, but raising people to understand primarily the language of violence.



The fact that today this language is not only understood but is also spoken by those who have had to hear it for centuries should come as no surprise.



But when you come from Europe and have never seen a pistol before, to hear the tone of this language for the first time gives you a shock you'll never forget.



After only two days in this new country I was held up by gun men - a type of people I had never met before.



The fear I felt was a fear I had never experienced before: the fear of another human being.



My journey afterwards became a journey into this human being behind its terrifying anger. And the more I came to understand and like this human being, the more I saw how I could myself be the cause of this anger in a system which from day one had forced me onto the side of the oppressor - whether as a Danish tourist I wanted it that way or not.



I did not then understand that sunglass-covered hatred, yet it reflected such a shocking distortion of my own perceived humanity that it forced me to ask how I could possibly he seen in such a way. Could I myself be the cause of that anger? Could I myself ever end up harboring such anger?



Even such questions were beyond my imagination, but from the day when I faced that cold "piece" of American reality I began to understand how fear locks us up in behavior patterns which daily force millions of people into ghettos and eventually into an underclass.



I had to overcome my fear (and guilt) or I would myself unknowingly end up discriminating in ways inconsistent with my Christian upbringing. Whether this struggle with my own racism was successful I will examine later in the show.



Music from NWA: A young nigger on the warpath, And when I finish, it's gonna be a bloodbath of cops dyin' in L.A. Yo, Dre, I got something to say: Fuck tha police, Fuck tha police, Fuck tha police.....



Today when black anger has reached levels unknown before in American history - and that of our Muslim immigrants in Europe starts to resemble it threatening to tear our societies apart - we can no longer turn our backs on it.



It is my hope that the journey I started 34 years ago into the roots of this growing anger and violence will be the necessary, yet painful journey you personally will undertake with me - on a deep subconscious level to help create the foundation for change and healing.