Thoughts on Black Lives Matter and Christianity

 



        Today is 08/25/2020. I reopened my twitter account and it was being redirected to the Black Lives Matter Twitter site. I have received magazines and letters from TBN and Oprah Winfrey. I guess I need to express my view points but I would like to first begin with this statement: Try to walk in somebody's shoes to understand their point of view:



        I would like to ask a question to all these media superstars my family seemed to always had to perform Military service being called up(drafted) World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam while others got out of required military service.



        I would like to begin by taking you back to 1974-1975. My Dad was in the U.S. Navy and he came home from a year at sea December 1974. In April 1975, saigon fell and the war ended along with this many stores closed down in North Charleston, South Carolina. My dad asked for a transfer to Cleveland Ohio to finish his Navy career 1956- 1976. The times in South Carolina were tough with my Dad performing his military duty I had no one to take care of me I was on my own. Food was scarce and I was hungry and for dinner we had Chicken Pot pies. My mother worked long hours at J.M. Fields. I can remember one time my Dad had to sell his car to give us kids a Christmas.



        I will now set the stage the year is 1980 I had just won the Indoor 400 meter Conference title and for a time I had something I could believe in and had hope and a real shot at returning back to South Carolina. I had asthma but I did not let it stop me. Yes, sometimes it looked like I would have to be carrired out in a stretcher and hauled off in a ambulance because the damp cold air always hurt my lungs  and weaken me very considerably. I can remember  I brought home a college letter to my Mom and Dad from Indianna and I was very excited and happy but my Mom and Dad wanted me to perform military service skipping 12th grade and performing military duty. I did not understand why. I lived in Berea Ohio and went to a baptist Church and  for some reason felt I did not belong and was a 2nd class citizen. The church was basically white upper class.  My dad understood this probably better than anyone in our family about social class structure because He got out of the Navy and worked as a clerk for Quality Brands Inc low paying job. We were deemed lower class. I do not blame others for the way I felt and in fact most of my friends were on the Track team African American also from the South so we all had the same feelings about living in this type of Environment hint wanting out. 


        In 1981, I ran a 50-51 second quarter and I was eager to get College Financial aide and start my new life in College. This did not happen in fact I was denied College Financial Aide. I was left with the only option availabe Military Duty. I signed up as a 12b10 combat Engineer in the Reserves. My boot camp was hard Fort Leonardwood Missouri (Little Korea) I would have to lift 700 pound beams with 3 other people, March 26 miles with 60 pound backpacks, Field Duty, Lots of Obstacle courses 50 feet off the ground repelling off 400 foot cliffs, lots of physical labor digging fox holes pick and shovel. I had the opportunity to race somebody from Jammica while in boot camp and we struck up a conversation and he asked me about my speed and he told me he ran the 400 meters in 48 seconds and we were neck and neck. I can remember the Drill Sergeants asked both of us why where we here. I replied I could not get financial aid and the Drill Sergeant shook his head in disbelief.  I came back home to Cleveland Ohio and I went to Cleveland State University from 1982 - 1985 I excelled at Mathematics receiving A's and B's in Calculus but I would have to wash dishes at a Restraunt part time to pay for my books and transportation my hours where the grave yard shift. In essence, I served part time military duty, went to school full time, and worked part time in menial jobs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

        I can remember when my Dad lost his job around 1983 I had to give up my car 1977 Chevy Monza for him and I would get a new car on credit. I can remember the Baptist Church would send letters to him that they would kick him out of the church for not attending for whatever reasons. Please understand I do not begrudge the Baptist Church in Berea and hold no animosity but the church's I went to had a social class structure at least I felt and I always felt like a lower class citizen not belonging there maybe it was my fault but by the same token I cannot change how I feel. We use to call ourselves the poor black folk of 268 Jananna, Berea, Ohio my Dad name was Leon a common name for African Americans he was part Cherokee and Scottish or Welch. I will leave you with a story back in 1977 the church invited me to attend Camp Patmos on Kelly's Island. A church counselor who served in Vietnam took me out on a sail boat and he told me see that island across it is called Peelees island we are 400 meters away that is Canada. We both had a look of sadness in our eyes if I can remember correctly.



        In conclusion, The next time you judge people by their skin try walking in their shoes for a bit and be glad you don't live in hell and purgatory like others had to.   Yes, this includes Bill O'reilly, Oprah Winfrey, Sean hannity, Church leaders and anybody else you can think of that fits the description. I did not cry or wine about my situation or bemoan the fact of social status but when people make generalizations without getting to really know the person than they have made judgements on others whether White or black.


08/25/2020

Barry L. Crouse                                                                                                                                                                                          


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