The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
By Thomas Szasz.
This quote was shown on the show 20/20 which aired an episode on people who forgave those that wronged them in some of the most heinous ways. I think that forgiveness is necessary in order to move on and heal. But the problem I was having with this show and others is that they portray these black men who have been imprisoned for years and years for crimes they did not commit as the epitome of upstanding, selfless, and courageous individuals with character qualities that other blacks should emulate.
I personally believe that those innocent men who were kept in the hell that is prison for all those years and the ones who went to their death in that place are indeed courageous individuals but not for forgiving and forgetting. But, for enduring that type of torture and not giving in to the pressure to “just admit you did it” and they would be viewed leniently and might make parole. It takes courage to stand up in the face of severe adversity like that and not break.
Anyway, the problem with these guys is that they come out and immediately start to say things like “I don’t blame anyone; it was no ones fault that I was wrongly imprisoned.” Really, no ones fault! How about the not really blind justice system? How about the lying prosecutors who in most of these cases failed to turn over key evidence that would have exonerated these individuals? How about the (normally all white) jury who on little or no evidence except loose flimsy circumstantial evidence like “the fellow who did this was black, we think”? How about the judge who seeing that the prosecution having had no evidence allowed the farce to take place? Yet according to these people there is no one to blame.
One problem I have with this need to constantly show blacks forgiving and forgetting the system for this racist atrocity is that they never show the other side. What about those blacks who sure forgive but never forget and have a lot to say about the railroading process that put them away. How about the people, who don’t forgive them, don’t their stories matter? I guess not since we never see them. It is funny that not only will they forgive them for their transgression but they forgive them even after in one case a judge said to the wrongly imprisoned man that his lawsuit was being thrown out because why should he be paid, he should just be thankful that he was let go.
I think that black people have been more than forgiving for all the atrocities that we have had to suffer. We are constantly forgiving and that is the problem. I can understand forgiving but like the doctor on 20/20 said forgetting doesn’t mean getting a lobotomy. And the black community sometimes makes me think that a lot of them are lobotomized. How many times and how long do we need to continue forgiving a country that continues its never ending parade of transgressions upon us? We forgave slavery, the loss of our history, ancestry, language, religion and peace of mind. We then forgave Jim Crow, segregation, racism, discrimination, and the Klan.
How much forgiving do we have to do before we say enough is enough? Right now our race looks like a door mat and I frankly don’t like the sound of that. I am sure that people will of course say that things are getting better. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, but to me it looks like things are getting worse. But like I keep saying how LONG must we continue to turn the other cheek, take the high road, look the other way and play the ever forgiving role of the enabling co-dependent before we decide that we need equality NOW?