Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Blahginess!

June 1, 1921

As the mob grew in size and intensity things began to deteriorate. Yesterday I ran across a great time line summary of the actual events here. All throughout the night armed blacks and whites skirmish throughout north Tulsa taking causalities on both sides. Things seemed to quit down a bit between midnight and 2am with intermittent gunfire. Then at 5am three whistle blasts are heard and whites begin their final assault on “Little Africa”.

Over 30 square blocks of houses and businesses are burned to the ground. Officially only 39 were killed, 13 of them white. But according to a Red Cross estimate at the time 300 were actually killed. This would make the riot the most deadly race related incident in American history. 10,000 were left homeless as a result of the looting and burning. At the time over $1.8 million in property damages. Eventually a large number of the black population in Tulsa were rounded up and placed in internment camps mostly at the Fairgrounds. And in the coming months many of the black victims would sue for property damage and loss. All of the cases were dismissed and culpability at the time was placed squarely upon the shoulders of the black community. Perhaps most importantly much of the history of this event was forgotten about. Not until 1997 did the state of Oklahoma officially commission a group to research and rebuild the history of the event and what actually occurred.

I find this principle at work in my own life. Something small and insignificant blows up into a big deal. Once I deal with the issue (personal character flaws, grudges, etc…) I try and forget the past. But it seems to me that a balanced view of the past and the future keep me on track. Is it really necessary for us as a society to dig into our past and re-encounter these horrific emotional events that only seem to encourage more questions and more discomfort in the way we live? Is it a good exercise to reopen the past only to discover a really bad part of ourselves? Is is important for us to “set the record straight” and issue a final judgement as to fault? Is is even possible?

What do you think?


9 responses

  1. Hmm….Well I think maybe there is a different answer for different people. If someone is really free from prejudice and hatred and loves people of different races, they may not need to know all of this. Unless they have a relationship with a person who needs to tell their story. If someone thinks there is no story and arragantly thinks they are better than someone else, I think their eyes need to be opened.

    I grew up in California and as kids, we all intermixed and didn’t think anything of it. Then I was in the Army and didn’t think anything of all the different colors of skin. I noticed, same way I notice if someone is male or female, short or tall, but I didn’t have any weird feelings. Now, living in Oregon, I am happy to see different races moving into our valley. But it does feel a little weird because I am worried they will wonder why I am so happy to see them. (I have honestly missed all the different colors and even cultures, I don’t know why, I just do) So then I just try and be medium nice. So I won’t make the other person uncomfortable. That’s annoying. On my part. Maybe in Heaven God will have us rotate colors in our spiritual bodies so we get to be all of them. Don’t really mean that but if He would do that now, wow would that fix all this! Very thought provoking post Kenyon, thank you. And by the way, I do struggle with my own prejudice, it is just not about skin color.

    June 20, 2008 at 12:56 pm

  2. kenyongerbrandt

    tawny- thanks for the honesty. It is good for me to hear that everyone struggles with prejudice in one form or another. I certainly want to erradicate that from my life as much as possible. I really like the notion of “medium nice”. Made me chuckle.

    June 20, 2008 at 2:33 pm

  3. mimi

    i like the thought of us”rotating colors” in heaven. very psychodelic.:)
    also, the comment on being medium nice reminds me of something our pastor has encouraged us to be….he said we should be “creepy nice” to people.:) I thought that fit in here, sounds like that is how you want to be tawny. I also have a tendency to be that way. i sometimes wonder if the people at target are like “what is she smiling at?” oh well, I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart!

    June 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm

  4. You guys made me happy with your comments. Mimi, I was actually thinking we would stay in the different colors for oh, a couple thousand years or so, so it wouldn’t actually be psychodelic, except for “switching time”. 🙂 As far as medium versus creepy nice….I am very comfortable smiling at people but I don’t want to be creepy nice because I want people to feel loved, not freaked out. How do we balance that? Or can we? Because we are talking about strangers and other than reading their body language, we don’t have a clue how they are responding to us, no matter what we do. Guess we just have to do what we feel led to do. 🙂

    June 20, 2008 at 4:27 pm

  5. kenyongerbrandt

    mimi-psychodelic…I have a much better visual now of this rotating colors theory and I like it. The thought also makes me crave skittles.

    June 20, 2008 at 4:55 pm

  6. Hey Kenyon,

    I am a little paranoid, hopefully someday I will outgrow it….but I didn’t offend you with my last comment did I? I know I am being a total girl but I have to ask! 🙂 Do you like comments or should I limit myself to one, only when I can’t help myself?

    June 20, 2008 at 6:23 pm

  7. kenyongerbrandt

    tawny-No. You haven’t offended me at all. I’m not sure even how you would have done that in the first place. Second, I like the comments. I am all for online community that is authentic and beneficial and so far both of those have been achieved. Thanks.

    June 20, 2008 at 6:44 pm

  8. Ok, cool! You put me on your blogroll too. 🙂 I just noticed. Thank you! Now I can comment on the next post. Yay!

    June 20, 2008 at 6:56 pm

  9. Pingback: Tulsa Documentary « My Blahg Life by Kenyon Gerbrandt

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